1My child, remember
my teachings and instructions
and obey them completely.
2They will help you live
a long and prosperous life.
3Let love and loyalty
always show like a necklace,
and write them in your mind.
4 God and people will like you
and hold you in high esteem.
Do you want to be considered a success? Deep down, I think every person does if they are honest with themselves. The problem is we know that in our culture success has become an idol. We talk about successful businessmen and successful careers in ways that make us envious and jealous. Families fall apart because a parent became so obsessed with becoming successful in their career they ignored what was happening with their loved ones. Chasing success ended up in pressure.
In this verse we learn that it is okay to hope for success. However, we need to radically redefine our definition of success. Success isn’t becoming wealthy at all costs, it is living a life of love and following God so we can be the fullest person we were meant to be.
The key of success is realizing it is all about whether or not God considers you a success or not. If we remember and live out God’s wise teaching from the Proverbs, it is more likely our lives will be longer and better off than if we did not. This is not a promise for a long life, but an observation that the odds are more favourable the more you live in line with God’s wise teachings.
We are to let love and loyalty shine like a necklace. It’s a fitting picture. I remember as a kid watching rap stars show off their gold necklaces as a sign of their success. Here God tells us to let the light bounce off our loyalty to friends and family, and our love of humanity. These are the marks of spiritual success. When we truly live loving and loyal lives, the people around us will come to the conclusion that our lives were a success, and even more importantly, so will God.
God, who always accomplishes what he sets out to do, you are the true definer of what success looks like. May we live wisely and follow your Word so that we live long and you declare that we are a success. Through the effective name of Jesus, Amen.