River Fishing & True Success

What does it mean to successful in God’s eyes? Is there any difference between that and what our culture understands as success? Not just in terms of money and stuff, but in everyday life how do you define success and does it match God’s definition? Let me illustrate God’s definition and see how it lines up with yours.
My whole family went on a horse packing trip up the Ram River for my parent’s 25th anniversary. After getting back to base camp one afternoon I decided to do some fishing. I grabbed my rod, headed down to the river and began working my way up stream.
If you’ve never river fished before, it’s different from lake fishing where you may sit in one spot for hours. On the river you’re constantly on the move looking for little eddies, and sheltered spots along the banks where the current gently swirls upstream. Once you’ve tried a number of casts into one hole and not had any response, there’s usually no point staying so you move to the next hole.
When I’m fishing like this time doesn’t mean much and by the time I figure I’m done I’ve usually got a long walk back. Wendy didn’t realize this process and began to get concerned after I had been gone for a couple of hours. But Dad assured her everything was fine, having done the exact thing many times himself.
Meanwhile I had found a perfect hole, but I wasn’t going to be easy. There was a lot of overhanging willows and it was a challenge to get an angle that I could cast my lure where I wanted without getting hung up in the bushes or getting myself wet. But it was worth it. On just the second cast I got a big hit on my line and I landed a beautiful rainbow trout.
When I got back to camp the pride in my dad’s eyes as I describe my adventure is something I’ll treasure my whole life. But it really had nothing to do me catching a big fish. I could have fallen in the river and come back with a broken rod and seen the same pride. The pride was in seeing his nature and character and values reflected in his son.
That’s the success that God values; when he sees himself expressed through his children. Galatians 5 calls it the fruit of the spirit. The characteristics that are expressed consistently through a person’s life that spring from the very nature of God himself.


About David Berg

I live in a small town in Alberta, Canada. I pastor a small Baptist church and also work half-time on a local seed farm. It has been more than 25 years that I have been married to a most amazing and beautiful lady whose name is Wendy. Together we have three boys, and two beautiful daughter-in-laws. View all posts by David Berg

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