A paradigm defines the way we view something. For instance, if a man walks around looking at life through binoculars, he’ll view everything as big and close. A paradigm shift occurs when he puts down the binoculars–suddenly the world looks different.
In the spiritual realm, God offers a paradigm shift that changes our view of success. We tend to view it on the basis of money and power. Money works because it’s an easy way to measure how we’ve done compared to others. It only takes a moment for someone to evaluate our success by observing our cars, home and clothes. Power is a bit tougher to evaluate because its symbols are more subtle. But as a general rule of thumb, the more money someone has the more power they wield.
The problem is if someone acquires great wealth and influence he realizes his heart is elastic. No matter how much she stuffs into it, it can always hold more. Solomon said this when he noted, “He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income” (Ecclesiastes 5:10). Rabbi Harold Kushner observed, “There are two tragedies in life. One is not getting what you want, and the other is getting it.” Few sights are sadder than that of a man or woman who spent their life acquiring wealth and power only to realize it never filled the hole in their heart.
Equally heartbreaking is someone who suffers from self-loathing and despair because they failed to acquire wealth. Instead of driving a new Mercedes they drive a used Pinto and live in an apartment. They fell like a failure as they struggle to make ends meet. Like the refrain from the old country western song, they know “There’s too much month at the end of the money.”
Through the apostle Paul God provides a paradigm shift . . . one that should alter the way we view life. Paul said, “So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Cor. 4:1-2).
God doesn’t care about your income, investments, or influence. He only cares about your faithfulness. That’s the one thing God wants from you. He wants you to do the best you can with what you have. No more. No less. He wants you to consistently trust and obey him. Whether you have a little or a lot, if you’re faithful, God is applauding your life.