The heroes of America are often those who began with nothing, but through hard work, made a success of themselves. That success is normally gauged in terms of money, fame, or power. It is certainly true that hard work and success often (though not always) go together. What needs to be examined is the criteria by which we judge success.
Jesus warns us that the typical standard for success is insufficient. While not discounting the value of wealth, Jesus asks His typical style of question in which the answer is obvious. “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul?” No good at all! This simple question challenges our very basis for success.
What we need is a new image of an American hero. The individual who works hard to achieve success and experiences that success through a life of selfless service, compassionate care for others, and uncompromising worship of the Lord should be our hero. As we hold those individuals in high esteem, they become models to impact future generations to live for true eternal success.
• Ask the Lord to show you clearly how you have measured success in yourself and others.
• Pray for clarity of purpose in your life, with your focus on Jesus.
• Pray for the emergence of a new generation of American heroes who exemplify the kind of God-focused life that inspires others toward that same type of life.
Lord Jesus, I thank You for the way You speak so practically into our lives. You know how easy it is for us to get caught up in gaining material things. It is such a besetting sin here in America that we have made financial success a virtue. Forgive us for our misguided view of what success really is. Instead, Lord, help us to focus on living a life in You, for You, and then poured out on behalf of others. How dramatically our nation would be changed if we began to think of success in spiritual terms and not just in the accumulation of wealth, power or fame.
–Adapted from Desperate for Change: 40 Days of Prayer for America by David Butts