Phil Downer in his book, Eternal Impact, differentiates between the value of success and significance. For success, he likes the definition Chip MacGregor and Bobb Biehl devised, “the feeling you get when you reach your goals.” Phil defines significance as “making a difference in the lives of people over time.” For Downer, the distinction between success and significance is that the former ends with the attainment of goals whereas the latter has a lasting dimension. I’m conflicted with his distinction because the ability to attain significance is a mark of success. But let’s take it deeper to the point Phil is really making—reproduction of what is important is what we ought to seek. To do this requires training.
1 Chronicles 25:7--They numbered 288 together with their relatives who were all trained and skillful in music for the Lord.
King David valued worship. To ensure that worship was always a part of His kingdom he established positions from which musicians could minister. Under the leadership of Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthan, 288 of their family members were trained for prophesy and praise using musical instruments.
For training to be successful three things must exist. First, there must be desire. My dad paid for a college student to teach me how to play the guitar when we lived in Korea because that was my desire. Second, there must be education. Had my Korean teacher not shown me how to string a guitar, tune it, and play notes and chords, I would have made no progress. Third, there must be discipline. I got tired of practicing and so my observant father quit paying for my lessons. It wasn’t until my desire was rekindled through songwriting that I faithfully disciplined myself to practice and therefore improved my guitar playing.
To be successfully significant means to be able to train someone in a skill that they learn to master and then can reproduce in others. When Jesus came to the earth His mission was to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). We know that Jesus suffered crucifixion, died, and rose from the dead so as to be God’s perfect sacrifice for our sins—our means of salvation. For His death and resurrection to be effective after He returned to heaven required that there always be messengers capable of following Him and telling His story. We could make a strong case that the most important piece of Jesus’ three years of ministry was in training up disciples equipped to carry on His message. Had He not done this, we would be clueless to the gospel.
Phil writes, “Meaning in life comes from leaving a legacy of godly people!” Therefore, a powerful goal is to train up people “to know Christ and to make Him known.” This puts us in alignment with God’s plan and is a tremendous way to be successfully significant!
“Making disciples” is not the assignment of a few “super-Christians,” but must be the activity of all Christians.—Ralph Neighbour, Jr. in Where Do We Go From Here
©2018 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)
Phil Downer in Eternal Impact,(Harvest House Publishers: Oregon, 1997), p. 20
Ibid, p. 21