In our culture, comparison, numbers, and popularity are often the measuring stick by which we view success.
"Why did she get the promotion over me? " "Her house is cleaner and more stylish than mine " "Why haven't I brought more people to faith? " "Despite my efforts, the ministry is not growing " In John's Gospel(21:15) Jesus speaks to Peter asking if he loved him. With Peter's declaration of yes, Jesus would charge him "Feed my lambs". This question would proceed two more times admonishing Peter to tend to God's people. Peter's impact for the gospel was eventful and fruitful but before he barely got off the ground Jesus would fast-forward his life to show how it would end. "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, 'Follow me!'"(John 21:18-19) Charged with a mandate to care for God's people while declaring that the end of his life would be a painful crucifixion. Wrongfully do we often think that if God loves us we will be blessed with great success. That success and suffering can't co-exist. How do we find joy when our efforts seem fruitless? God has our back whether we are experiencing success or difficulties. Sometimes God, in His mercy withholds things to spare us the ramifications that could have happened should our desires be granted. God works behind our understanding for our good and so that He can get glory. Lord, keep us in check so that we don't parade a desire for God to be glorified with the true reality that we want to see our name made great. Falling short of the mark of recognition we inwardly desire, may be a marker to explore whether you want success for God's sake or your own. We can be quick to envy another's lot, but this is a sure fast way to rob us of joy. It sabotages our steadfast contentment in Christ. Allow your heart to be focused on Him and not your coworker, neighbor, or others that will unsettle your spirit. Celebrate the success of others and bloom in your own garden. Reevaluate your measuring stick for success. Though we look for the big bang thing to validate if we are successful, God often measures it by the little successive displays of obedience we do on His behalf with a right heart motive.