by James Firth
Source: Amanda Stiver
Recently, a Royal Prince of Saudi Arabia, Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, placed a lawsuit against Forbes for defamation because the magazine underestimated his wealth in their annual “Rich List” of the world’s wealthiest people.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was ranked the 26th richest person in the world by Forbes with an estimated net worth of $20 billion US Dollars. He claims that the magazine underestimated his total wealth by $9.6 billion and thus harmed his business standing and public image of his financial standing, (Josh Halliday, “Saudi Prince Launches Libel Action Against Forbes Magazine Over Rich List,” TheGuardian.com, June 6, 2013).
The measure of worth
Being financially well-off is nice, and humankind generally strives to be successful, but what kind of success should we be chasing?
Is it having the most toys or the latest technology gadget? Is it having the most friends? Or always being top of the grade in every subject in school?
All these things can be beneficial in the right time and place, but being a Christian is all about moderation.
So what does God view as success?
In the book of Joshua, after Moses had died and Joshua was chosen to lead the nation of Israel into the Promised Land God gave Joshua this encouragement:
“Be strong and courageous, because you'll be leading this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Only be strong and very courageous to ensure that you obey all the instructions that my servant Moses gave you—turn neither to the right nor to the left from it—so that you may succeed wherever you go. This set of instructions is not to cease being a part of your conversations. Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to carry out everything that's written in it, for then you'll prosper and succeed. I've commanded you, haven't I? Be strong and courageous. Don't be fearful or discouraged, because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go." (Joshua 1:6-9  Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
 Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
 This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.
 Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.
See All..., ISV)
For Joshua to be successful the Lord expected him to follow these tenets: be courageous, obey instructions, meditate, do what is expected of you, and avoid becoming discouraged.
The one thing God doesn’t mention is the endless pursuit of wealth.
Plan for success
Solomon, the wisest man that lived, speaks on success, “Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed.” (Proverbs 16:3Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.
See All..., NIV) Solomon was indeed successful, but he lost balance and the acquisition of wealth and wives became his focus later in life.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21  Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Working hard to make a living and being careful with our resources are good habits to develop, but Christ warns against making money our only goal.
Let’s not have our focus be on collecting the most social media “friends” possible, acquiring the most wealth, or the biggest house that money can buy. If we really want to be a story of success, then we must set our goals for life and align our value system with the example set by Jesus Christ.