The Slippery Slope of Success

Reading Hebrews 11:23-26 today, I realized something. I’m not like the Moses of these verses. Here, Moses chose rather to endure ill treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered Christ’s suffering greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking to the reward.

Far too often, we Americans wink at work-related sins in the name of “success.” But that “success” is worldly to the core. It is characterized by the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the boastful pride of life.

So I asked myself, “Did taking on Christ’s reproach and loving God’s people characterize my last year at work? Or did I rather work for the wrong reasons – the fleeting pleasures of sin and the treasures of America?”

Here are four handy ways to find out if you’ve slipped off the path of faithful reproach to seek after trophies of sand:

  1. Do you first look for your boss’ approval? You say, “But my boss should know when I do something good. It’s part of my job.” Maybe, but as soon as you did it, did you wish he knew?
  2. Do you love to tell other people about your work successes? When work comes up in a conversation, do you love to be defined by how well you’re doing at your job? If so, you have begun to use your vocation as your savior.
  3. Do you work more for money and gifts than to worship God and love others? Oooh, this one hits home. “But I am supposed to provide for my family!” You sure are, but you’re not supposed to do it mainly for money, or for people, but for God.
  4. Do you often choose work over being with God and His people? “Oh, but I had to be faithful at work.” You should absolutely work hard, for as long as you’re signed up to be there. But did you prefer to stay and work instead of praying and reading your Bible, loving your family, and serving your local church?
  5. Are you afraid to be bold for Christ? I have known very many teachers who were afraid to preach the gospel for fear of losing their jobs. Guess what – they’re losing their faith instead. They counted the treasures of America greater riches than the saliva-soaked hate-speech they’d get for preaching the gospel. They looked at the wrong reward.

So, when you get to work, are you working for the treasures of Egypt, or turning from false treasures to be called a fool for Christ? Too often, I’ve forgotten that Jesus calls us to lay down our lives – yes, even our work lives – for His sake.


About B Treece
loved by God before I ever loved Him, saved by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone by the authority of the Bible alone to the glory of God alone, made to enjoy Him forever, happily married with wonder-filled children.

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