What is success?

November 17, 2008

by Pastor Lyndon Korhonen, Good Shepherd Free Lutheran, Cokato

The other night, I was out bow hunting.

First, a 4-point buck approached within 25 yards of me, but he was in thick cover, so no shot was available. Though I was high in a tree on a ridge, it seems he still spotted me. He would not come any closer; he just stood there in the brush and looked my way.

When I was still, he finally looked the other way and then meandered back into the swamp. He was so close, but I had not shot – though I watched him for 20 minutes.

Then, ten minutes later, I had a doe and a fawn walk by me at 15 yards. They passed through the trees on a fast walk, but would not stop. I could have taken a shot, but was afraid I would only wound them, so I waited and hoped they would wander toward me. Instead, they remained in the brush, 20 yards away, chewing on leaves.

Have you ever watched a deer, 20 yards away, chewing, for 20 minutes? I couldn’t believe that I was so close for so long, but still, no shot.

So, was that a successful hunt? Did I have to bring home venison for it to be successful?

I have come to the conclusion that it was a successful hunt because I had the opportunity to observe the deer up close for such a long time. And furthermore, I do not have the painful memory of a forced shot that just wounded the deer.

So, what is success as a Christian? Is it daily having a miraculous answer to prayer? Is it weekly having the opportunity to lead someone to faith in Christ? Is it often having the experience of a fervent time in prayer and a new revelation in scripture that alters my life?

The older I get, the more I think success revolves around being faithful to live in a relationship with Jesus and leave the results to Him; to grow in living a thankful life; to converse with the Lord about everything that goes on in my day.

Just as I had the privilege of watching those deer up close for so long, the believer has the privilege of observing what God has done in creation, and what He is doing in and through our lives and other lives.

You may not always get out to hunt, but you can go on a God-hunt every day and be watchful for what He is doing. I think that is success.