"Polish" - 1) To make smooth and shiny; 2) To free from coarseness; 3) To complete or perfect by removing flaws.
How do I define "success"What does the word "sacrifice" mean to me?
"Learn this lesson well, once and for all: God is the only master of our hearts; He alone can give solid peace, and our whole confidence must rest in Him only."
Claude de la Colombiere
"Step 5: Polishing Through Success"
"Embrace peace - don't let it get away!"
Psalm 34: 14, The Message
You and I live in an interesting society where success is often defined, not by the golden rule by which we live our lives, but by the golden balance on our bank accounts.
Sadly, our definition of success is usually focused on the material wealth we grasp rather than the Heavenly virtues we possess. Soon we lose a clear vision of what Godly accomplishment is really all about.
This is why I think it is useful to conclude our study of Esther by taking a look at how this story came to a "successful" end. By doing so, I believe we will get a clearer vision of how God defines success rather than taking man's definition as our guide.
After the Jews defended themselves by order and authority of King Ahasuerus, they were instructed by a letter from Mordecai, who was now in a leadership position in the country, to celebrate their deliverance with joy, sharing presents with one another and providing gifts to the poor. I'd like to stop and look at two important lessons here.
Lesson #1: The fruits of success are something to be shared with those around us.
Lesson #2: The fruits of success are to be used to care for the poor.
If the deliverance of the people was because of God's salvation, and it was, then the fruits of that deliverance were to be used, not for personal enrichment, but for shared blessings, including taking care of those who were less able to care for themselves.
These lessons, I have to admit, do not often line up with the way our society handles success. If we climb to the top of the ladder, we want all the "trappings" that go along with the pinnacle we have reached. But how different God's view of how we should use the blessings He has bestowed on us.
This isn't all. Because of the great esteem for Mordecai, the Jewish people lived in a foreign country for many years in "peace." In this account of Esther's life, success was defined by the "peace" that filled the land.
I must say this was a "new" idea for me but one that makes a great deal of sense in our gadget-filled, commercial world. Let me ask you, does more "stuff" bring you greater peace? I have found just the opposite to be true. If our so-called success allows us to "get more," yet in "getting more" we have less of what we really long for. Is our success really worth all the effort?
As I read over our Circle of Prayer requests each week, I believe that what many of you really want is "peace." Success in your marriage would bring peace rather than fighting. Success from drug addiction would bring peace rather than cravings. Peace is success!
None of the usual material "things" that show other people how successful we are can bring us the peace we long to enjoy. A big home won't do it. A fancy car won't do it. And a big bank account won't either.
In Psalm 37:37, David defined a successful person when he wrote these words, and I am paraphrasing: "Consider those who are walking with God, watch the ones who put God first, they are successful for they live in peace."
If you and I want God to "polish us through success," we should stop asking Him for things and start inviting His peace to fill every space of our lives.
"You will keep in perfect peace (she) whose mind is steadfast, because (she) trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever."
Isaiah 26: 3, 4
New International Version
"So you want peace of heart? Then do not seek health, nor wealth, nor fame, nor power, nor luxury. Seek wisdom in God's sight…and nothing will be able to make you sad."
To the People of Antioch
"Great peace have they who love Your law; and nothing can make them stumble."
Psalm 119: 165
New International Version
Dorothy Valcàrcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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