“O LORD, we pray, give us success!” Psalm 118:25
Patrick Dovigi was born on July 2, 1979 in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. As a boy, Dovigi demonstrated a talent for hockey goal-tending, and was eventually drafted as a goalie by the Edmonton Oilers in 1997’s entry draft. However, Dovigi displayed an unusual penchant for business, left hockey behind, and, in 2007, founded “Green For Life Environmental Inc.”. Last year, he was the second-highest paid CEO in Canada, taking in 43.4 million dollars. His estimated net worth is 1.08 billion dollars.
In the verse above, the Psalmist pleads for success. But how exactly do you measure success in the context of the local church? Is it when people show up in droves each Sunday so no empty seats remain? Or it is when the offerings received, far surpass the expected need and budget? No, while neither of these things are necessarily bad in themselves, yet they are not the true measure of success in the church of Jesus Christ.
True success in the kingdom of God is measured by determining to what degree the church, and individual believers, are being transformed into the image of Jesus Christ. And that success is often unseen and always unadvertised. It is when a grieving sister is comforted by the Word and the care of her church family; it is when a young man is convicted of a particular sin, and is resolved to seek help in putting this sin to death; it is when a meal is prepared with love for a needy friend; it is when a married couple are determined to stay the course, in spite of the marital challenges they are facing; it is when an elderly couple who are racked with physical pain, nevertheless leave church with a smile because of the great joy experienced worshipping with God’s people.
In all of these ways, and a thousand more, the church of Jesus Christ succeeds! As yeast permeates dough slowly, so the gospel gradually, almost imperceptibly continues its work of transforming hearts and lives for Jesus! Rarely does the church grow with explosive force, but rather with a quiet, unyielding persistence that is the result of the Holy Spirit’s power in her midst. May God continue to give us His success – measurable only by the way in which our lives are being transformed for Jesus, and are touching the lives of others for good!