It is very inspiring and uplifting to read many stories on LinkedIn and other social and personal platforms about a person’s journey of success. However it begs the question about the true link of success to significance.
We could be quite unsuccessful in monetary and business terms yet in our own sphere of relationships very much esteemed, loved and significant. So let’s consider for a moment someone who has in their own way been very significant and successful.
Born into a wealthy family in a city of great learning and raised with strong orthodox beliefs. It is not clear if the person married or had any children but acknowledged many special and meaningful relationships that reflected the love that can be found in a family.
The person worked for a local authority and ‘cast a vote against opposition’ and witnessed the murder of a perceived trouble maker. During a time of travel a great change occurred that resulted in a dramatic spiritual experience. The person then went to a quiet place for reflection and contemplation and for around ten years not much was known of any personal activities.
For over twenty years the person continued to travel quite extensively and became involved with lots of people, establishing many places that brought much support to the local community. During this time many strong relationships were formed and there was also many occasions when the person was harassed, persecuted, imprisoned and even ship wrecked as well as being greatly loved and appreciated.
Such activity resulted in court appearances and house arrest. During these occasions many words were written to friends and local groups that in the course of time have become esteemed and valued. Quite a number of biographies have recorded many aspects of the person’s life events which have influenced millions over the intervening years.
Any description of the person is quite unremarkable. Small in stature and not being blessed with natural beauty and even had a crooked nose. During appearances with people the demeanour was quite ordinary yet on other occasions the face was very angelic. Critics assessed the person’s writings as weighty and forceful and any speaking in public amounted to nothing.
Other descriptions have not been very complimentary but the person reflected very much their cultural characteristics whilst growing up. Other aspect of personality included a tender and loving side when dealing with difficult situations and often asked to be remembered to people known over times shared together.
This person, like all of us, had many faults but overall was warm and very human. Loved and chastened by many, an example of living a simple and sacrificial life at great personal cost to teach, support and care for people in community.
This person I have reflected on would have had to learn to live with their own perceived failures that they encountered and to work in and through any feelings of insignificance.
We all experience success in varying forms and at different seasons in life but whatever we ‘do and are’ it is significant especially to those who love and appreciate us.
Take a moment to think about how ‘significant and successful’ you think you are? If you find that difficult just ask your family, friends and work colleagues!
I have introduced and welcomed you to the ‘significant and successful’ life of Saint Paul the Apostle.