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August 4, 1998

Multidimensional, Multiseasonal Success

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In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. He had seven sons and three daughters, and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East. JOB 1:1-3
In our culture, it’s easy to find a one-dimensional success story—a person who is exceptionally skilled in her career, an individual with a wonderful family, or someone who has a great deal of spiritual passion. It’s a bit more difficult to find someone who has all three at once.
Job was just such a person. He aggressively and successfully engaged in commercial efforts, family priorities, and spiritual passion. He was a successful businessman, his family loved him, he was a well-respected member of his community, and he had an authentic, vibrant relationship with God. He scored well in all the key areas of life.
Some people prefer to concentrate on one area of life at a time. “I’m going to focus on my career now,” one says. “Then when that’s going great, I’ll start spending more time at home.” “I’m going to devote myself to my family right now,” another says. “Then when the kids are grown, I’ll get back into church.”
Unfortunately, such trade-offs rarely work. There are ebbs and flows in various areas of life, to be sure. We may not be at the top of our game in every area simultaneously. But we need to make sure we’re not scoring ourselves against just one dimension of life. We can’t be satisfied to get top grades at work when our families are falling apart and our spiritual lives are failing. On the flip side, we can’t settle for mediocrity at work just because our families are doing well and we’re walking closely with God. As Job so aptly demonstrates, a successful life is an integrated life.
Which dimensions of success are you measuring, and how are you doing in each of them?

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