What Achievements Are You Striving for This Year?

What Achievements Are You Striving for This Year?

Preacher Huijun - 15 January 2022

Weekend Devotion: What Achievements Are You Striving for This Year?

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As we start a new calendar year, we are all one year older. Some people told me that whenever they thought about their age, they felt a sense of loss and regret, for they still didn’t achieve much despite already being at certain age, and they don’t seem to be getting anywhere in life. Indeed, everyone desires to have meaning in life and a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. At a certain point in life, people may start reflecting: “Have I achieved what I planned to attain by this age? Have my dreams been fulfilled? Is my career on track to success? Am I settled down in a good marriage or family? Have I attained my life goals?” Now, many people, including believers, may feel lousy because they have a mistaken understanding toward what “accomplishments” mean. Thus, what we need to ask is, what does God consider as “achievement”?

 

Vain achievements.

I’m not sure if you have noticed, but in the Bible, God often didn’t think too highly of what the world considers to be great and successful. God does not exalt the kings, inventors, thinkers of this world. But contrary to human expectations, God lifts up those who are “foolish, weak, lowly, despised” (1 Co 1:27-28). In other words, in God’s eyes, those who are “wise, strong, honoured” are considered nothing great (1 Co 1:20). Human achievements and human glory are not remembered by God, they are just meaningless and empty achievements. As (Ecc 1:11) says: No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them. (Ecc 2:11) Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

 

What is real achievement?

If we look at the people being remembered in the Bible, such as Abraham, frankly speaking, what achievement did he have by the world’s standard? He was merely an old man who had a son only very very late in life, yes he had some wealth, servants and trained fighting men, but he was not a king or someone very outstanding in the world’s eyes. Yet, why was Abraham great and precious in God’s eyes? If Abraham were to look at his achievements by his age, he might also feel depressed, as he did not even have any children before he was aged 86. However, the significant “achievement” of Abraham was that he believed in God and obeyed Him.

Thus, simply put, the real achievement of a person is to glorify God and accomplish God’s work. In (Jn 4:34) Jesus said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work.” (ESV) Actually, true accomplishment is not so much about being successful at work, or even about overseeing some grand-scale Christian ministries. It does not mean that we must have “five talents” (Mt 25) then we can be considered as useful persons. What God looks at is not how many “talents” we have, but how well we make good use of what He has entrusted to us. Even if we only have “two talents”, even if we are not going to do anything ‘grand’ in this life, as long as we are faithful, we will still hear God call us His “good and faithful servant”. For the “achievement” God looks at is whether we have “accomplished His work”, whether we submit to His will, and seek to be more Christ-like, in order to glorify God.

 

We need to readjust what we are pursuing.

It is true that people usually yearn for better conditions and achievements than their current ones. Nothing wrong about that, but even as we seek to better our lives, we must not forget that the true meaning of our lives lies in how much we can enjoy an intimate relationship with God, and find satisfaction, guidance and help from Him. In fact, whatever we encountered, whether good or bad are all ordained by God in order that we may know Him better, and for His glory to be manifested.

Furthermore, (1 Co 3:12-15) tells us that “if anyone builds on this foundation (which is Christ) using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.” Thus, what we are building or striving for in this life matters on the Day when we will be tested by fire. If we are building on the foundation of Christ using gold, silver and costly stones, then even if we seem ordinary in this life (perhaps we are plain-looking, our career is just average, or we feel we are losers just because we are single or childless or we did not make any major contribution to the world), but God will remember and reward us for our faithful time, energy, prayers and labour put in to build on the foundation of Christ.

 

Once we restore this perspective, we will naturally seek God’s kingdom and His righteousness first (Mt 6:33). We must not feel lousy just because we compare with others and see how they have attained certain things by a particular age yet we have not. Importantly, the crowns we receive come from glorifying God and edifying men. Pray that as we pass one year after another, we do not get too excited or dejected over empty achievements, but we continue to seek the most precious accomplishment in Christ, that is to trust and obey God and finish the work He entrusts us. God will surely reward such a person abundantly.

Preacher Huijun
Preacher Huijun
huijun@lifechurchmissions.com

Huijun joined The Life Church and Missions (Singapore) as a preacher in 2012. She is effectively bilingual and preaches occasionally at the Chinese service. She graduated from Singapore Bible College and currently lives in Singapore with her husband, Chengji.

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