Today’s reading from the HopeNYC daily devotional contained some admonishments regarding the path to success:
Some sacrifices are simply not worth it: (1) In your attempt to build a reputation, don’t lose your character. Reputation is what people think you are; character is what God and those closest to you know you are. (2) Don’t sacrifice your family for your career. If you do you’ll end up winning the admiration of those who don’t matter, while losing the love of those who do. (3) Don’t sacrifice your relationship with God for material things. God told His people, “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth” (Dt 8:17-18NIV). Then he drops the other shoe: “If you ever forget the Lord…you will surely be destroyed” (v.19NIV).
I want to focus just a minute on “Don’t sacrifice your relationship with God for material things.” It’s easy to get caught up in our own success, to pat ourselves on the back and say “well done.” We throw parties for ourselves celebrating our achievements. But are we giving God thanks at the same time? Are we so busy pushing toward a goal that we don’t make time to talk to God? I’m guilty of that at times. We forget that we are made of dust, and the only reason that we walk and talk and work and dance is because God breathed life into us (Gen 2:7). The word inspiration translates to “God-breathed” so in fact since we are God-breathed, we are his inspiration!
God crafted us with his hands, but before he did that he created the heavens, the earth, and everything in them. The psalmist David said “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” (Psalm 8:3-4). Who indeed are we that God should spend an iota of his time concerning himself with us??? Who are we, sinful creatures as we are, that God should give us anything? But God is a loving Father to his children. The Bible says “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights…” (James 1:17). It says every gift! That new car? It’s got a gift tag on it that says “From God with love!” The $54 skirt you got for $2.57? Praise God for it right in the store! (True story by the way, I’ll show you the receipt!) The seat you got on the jam-packed train last night? God saw you were tired and made someone get up for you. Friends, the list goes on and on but the point is we need to remember that our focus should be on God. Don’t get distracted by the new and shiny. Give God the praise he so richly deserves for every single thing he does in your life.