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Living a Good Life: Guiding Truths to Define Success, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell
The Truth Network Radio
February 21, 2024 10:48 am

Living a Good Life: Guiding Truths to Define Success, Part 3

Delight in Grace / Grace Bible Church / Rich Powell

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February 21, 2024 10:48 am

What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?  The book of Mark reminds us that we can be wildly successful in things that, once we have them, turn out to be utterly meaningless.  Are we striving for the wrong goals, all the while neglecting true and lasting success?  Today, Pastor Rich shares 7 ways we mis-define success and 7 guiding truths from Ecclesiastes 5 to help us realize our true purpose before God. 

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Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? The book of Mark reminds us that we can be wildly successful in things that, once we have them, turn out to be utterly meaningless.

Are we striving for the wrong goals, all the while neglecting true and lasting success? Today Pastor Rich shares seven ways that we misdefine success and seven guiding truths from Ecclesiastes 5 to help us realize our true purpose before God. You're listening to the third segment of a message from Ecclesiastes 5, 8 through 20. It's part of a series on the book of Ecclesiastes called Living a Good Life, Making Sense of the Journey. It was originally preached on April 28, 2018.

If you'd like to hear the whole message, you can go to www.delightingrace.com. A society where people are able to cultivate their fields, instead he's oppressing them, but if he's not oppressing them, the people are able to cultivate the fields, then those people have wealth generation and the king does too. And what happens if the king oppresses them to where they can't cultivate the fields?

The fields don't produce. And eventually what happens to the king? He fails.

He goes hungry. He's going to have to find another people to rule. Thinking we instead of me is the place to begin. And how are we doing begins with God.

It begins with God because we are all under authority and we are all accountable. God has given you position and whatever position you have, what is your occupation? God has given you position for a specific purpose, namely to help and serve the human community. It's not about your self-advancement. He has given you position to help and serve the human community.

So that's the sense of the king, verse 9, the king committed to cultivated fields. When he thinks we, things go well. If he's only thinking me, things are going to dry up. So think we not me is the place to begin. That's the first guiding truth for your occupation. Number two, for this we skip down to verse 18. Number two, purpose and worth are in the person. Are in the person, not the position. Purpose and worth are in the person, not the position.

So verse 18, behold what I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun the few days of his life that God has given him for this is his lot. The way that presents that is this is a this is a passing thing. Your position in life, it's a passing, it's a temporary occupation, isn't it?

It's not what defines you. Purpose and worth are in the person, not the position. This speaks to the dignity of the imago Dei. The dignity is not found in the position so much as it is in the person because you're created in God's image. And all positions in life, like I said, they are given to us to serve and help the human community. Positions, whether high positions or low positions. Positions and productivity are a tool for human flourishing. That's why we have them.

How are we doing? It is the person that has meaning, not any position or possession. You see, positions are matters of order and function. There needs to be positions.

Yes, they do. There need to be orders in a hierarchy of positions. There has to be that because there is such a thing called leadership. But positions are matters of order and function. Meaning and purpose are in the person. This is why I can go so wrong when a person attains a higher position and they think that gives them greater worth or meaning than a person of lower position.

You know what happens then? Oppression. And you start using people for your further self-advancement. It's a very natural human way to think and act.

But the Bible warns us against that. The only thing that is eternal is the person. You think about it. In your work, in your position, whatever your position is, the only thing that is eternal, the only thing that is lasting is people. That's where you find meaning. That's where you find purpose. Positions and possessions all fade away. That's why we is paramount. That's the paramount question.

How are we doing? And so we need to evaluate our own partiality by how we ascribe worth to a person of high position or possession. Consider the celebrity worship in our culture today.

Frankly, I find it nauseating. But that's earthbound thinking when we ascribe worth to people of high position or possession. And we think they have all the answers. They have life figured out. Let me clue you in. No, they don't. In fact, some of them are much more clueless than the average person. I'm not mocking wealth. I'm not mocking status. But when you look to that wealth or that status for your identity and your worth, you are deluded. Don't go there. It comes from somewhere else. And that's what we need to understand.

Number three guiding truth. Your occupation is a temporary trust. Your occupation is a temporary trust. One key occupation is that of a parent, isn't it? We just figured out this week that our youngest daughter, Anna, she's graduating from high school this year. Our oldest granddaughter, Adelie, is now three.

When we first arrived here, Anna was Adelie's age. Yours for a limited time only. It is a temporary trust. And parenthood is a particularly significant position in life. It is a trust. But beyond that, the work of the day, your vocation, your occupation, it is a temporary trust.

Look again at verse 18. What I have seen to be good and fitting is to eat and drink and find enjoyment in all the toil with which one toils under the sun for, listen to this, the few days of his life that God has given him. For this is his lot. You have been entrusted with your position in your vocation.

It is a trust and it is a temporary trust. You are called to manage it well for God's glory and for the help of the human community. You see, it's a short life and that's why this whole series is built on the truth that you need to begin with the end in view. This is a short life.

It is so temporary. You need to begin with the end in view because it is the end. When you leave this under the sun location, when you leave it, that truth needs to inform your path to that end. That is something that we all must understand and learn. You see, your work outside of your occupation is what the people closest to you will remember when the end eventually arrives. That may sound like a morbid takeaway, but that's what former first lady Barbara Bush told the fresh-faced graduating class of Wellesley College during her 1990 commencement address at school. She urged the graduates to embrace their careers with gusto and she noted her own advocacy in the field of literacy, but she also told them the relationships they cultivated would be the most important investments they would make. Learn that, loved ones.

The relationships that you cultivate will be the most important investments that you make. At the end of your life, says Barbara Bush, you will never regret not having passed one more test, not winning one more verdict, or not closing one more deal. You will regret time not spent with husband, child, friend, wife, parent, and says Jamie Dean in World Magazine, it's not a call to quit our day jobs. It's a reminder to pursue them with zeal knowing God uses our work in his world for his purposes and when we're productive we reflect the image of our creator. How true that is.

How true it is. Occupation and things are entrusted to you for provision and service. We needs to be the focus.

How are we doing? So do your job well as one entrusted with it. Do it well, but remember it is not your identity. It does not define your worth and it will not be your satisfaction. Number four, we need to move through these very rapidly, so get your pencils ready to smoke, okay? Number four, God gives the ability to generate and enjoy wealth. Verse 19, whether you acknowledge it or not, God gives the ability to generate and enjoy wealth.

He gives you intellect, creativity, skill, strength, and it is he who gives meaning, integrity, and purpose. You need the divine reference, so do the best job you can in your work. The dignity of the position is related to the dignity of the person as one created in God's image. We all know that some jobs violate this, don't they? You should not be in a job that violates human dignity. Number five, find a good job that you enjoy but keep it in its place. Verse 19, find a good job that you enjoy but keep it in its place.

Wealth and occupation enjoyed are enjoyed more if kept in their right place. It is not designed to be your identity, your meaning, or your satisfaction. It does not belong on the throne of the hub of your life.

It does not belong there. There are chapters in life, we understand that, and we have to go through chapters. Those are young, sometimes have to do jobs where, you know, you're just simply generating it. It might not be your dream job right away, but you are working towards that. There is value in work, there is value in providing, there is value in meaning and stewardship.

We are called to that. Number six, verse 20, your identity and satisfaction come from God. The highest matters of life are not about what you can produce or consume. The most important things in life are not things, including any position. Romans 14, 17 says the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. I need to say this, this is very important. The statesman, the businessman or woman, the preacher, the sanitary engineer, the homemaker, just as much as the person struggling with gender identity or same-sex attraction must find his or her identity, not in looking to himself or what she can produce, but in the one who created you for himself. That's where you find your identity. Thanks for joining us here at Delight in Grace. You've been listening to Rich Powell, the lead pastor at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The Delight in Grace mission is to help you know that God designed you to realize your highest good and your deepest satisfaction in him, the one who is infinitely good. We hope you'll join us again on weekdays at 10 a.m.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-02-21 12:09:43 / 2024-02-21 12:14:28 / 5

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