Summary: What does it mean to succeed spiritually? Micah gives us three suggestions.
When I was in High School I wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up, sometimes even today I’m not sure what I want to be when I grow up. However I had plenty of dreams and aspiration, and when ever I visualized myself doing any of those particular things that I dreamed of doing I was always a success. I never pictured myself as an also ran, I was always the very best, I had always a succeeded in what ever field it was that I had chosen.
Most of us are driven to succeed, somehow in something we want to be more then average. I love the milk commercials where people talk about how they only ever wanted to be number two. During the Olympics I heard a competitor in the women’s triathlon say “I don’t expect to place in the top three but it’s be nice to come around 10th or 11th.” Aim high, but think about it, half the people you know are below average. And half the people your friends know are below average.
We all want to be successful; we’d like to have an Oscar for something, anything, gracing our mantel. And if we don’t feel that we’ve reached our goals then we live vicariously through our kids, pushing them hoping they’ll will succeed where we didn’t and they’ll be the next Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods or Celine Dion. If we can’t have our own Oscar then we will just have to make do with our kid’s Oscar knowing deep within our hearts that during their acceptance speech they will tell everyone how much they owe to us. Maybe.
And maybe at that point we are confusing success with fame. You will hear the media talk about a successful actor or actress or musician or media personality and then they’ll tell how they’re dealing with their anger problems, substance abuse or their seventh marriage. And you think “Oh so that’s success.”
This is fame (picture of Madonna) and this is success (picture of mother Theresa). Madonna once said “I won’t be happy till I’m as famous as God.” You see becoming famous is just part of the journey, you only think it is a destination. Don Johnson said “Once you become famous, there is nothing left to become but infamous.” Which I think is where Madonna is probably at. And a hundred years from now nobody will know who Madonna or Don Johnson was but people will still talk about the Mother Theresas and the Helen Kellers and the Albert Schweitzers and Billy Grahams.
Davie Crockett said “Fame is like a shaved pig with a greased tail, and it is only after it has slipped through the hands of some thousands, that some fellow, by mere chance, holds on to it!”
But what is success if it isn’t fame. And what do we have to do to be successful and how do we know when we’re finally there? If we were to venture out onto the street and ask people those questions what would the answers be? Let’s listen in and find out. Clip from e.ssentials vol. 4 #5 What does it mean to be successful?)
How would you answer that question? What does it mean to be successful? A boss I had many years ago used to tell me that “Luck was what failures call success.” How would you define being successful? Would you talk about your job, how much money you make, your great title and all the perks that come with your position. Maybe you’d talk about your family, your marriage, how much you love your spouse, how proud you are of your children. Or maybe you’d speak in terms of your hobby, what your golf score was, how big your sailboat is or the size of the buck you shot last year. What does it mean to be successful?
And what if we were to narrow that down and ask, what does it mean to be spiritually successful? What would your answer be then? Would you talk about how often you attend church, how much you give, how many of the Ten Commandments you’ve been able to keep, how you have tried to do everything required of you and of all the things that you’ve sacrificed for God?
That’s what the people were doing in Micah’s day; they wanted to know how many sacrifices they would have to make to please God. Micah has just done the prophet thing, you know “Turn or Burn” and the people seem more interested in the first option then the second. And they ask the prophet, Micah 6:6-7 What can we bring to the Lord to make up for what we’ve done? Should we bow before God with offerings of yearling calves? Should we offer him thousands of rams and tens of thousands of rivers of olive oil? Would that please the Lord? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for the sins of our souls? Would that make him glad? They wanted to know what they could do to achieve spiritual success. And I’m sure that their first born were hoping that Micah wouldn’t pick number three.