Skip to content
Need some Easter Sermon inspiration? Check out our Easter Sermon Collection Learn more
Go back


Rethink Success (Part 1)

Rethink Success (Part 1)

I talk to people all the time who are at the top of their fields—they are successful and have it all—but it isn’t enough. Over and over again, these people tell me that after all the energy they’ve spent to get where they are, they still don’t feel satisfied. They haven’t found what they are searching for.

They would exchange the money, the accolades, and the fancy titles for real satisfaction. These leaders want more time with their family. They want their lives to make a difference. They want to know they’ll leave the world a better place when they pass on.

In short, these people want to move from success to significance.

They just don’t know how.

I’m sure you’ve met some of these men and women, too. They are the movers and shakers in your community. They call the shots, make the deals, and have everything a person could possibly want—but they’re searching for more and coming to you for help.

What do you say to them?

How do you help them take the all-important step from success to significance?

It’s not a new question. Nicodemus asked Jesus for advice on that very topic two thousand years ago. Nicodemus was a big success, the kind of man everyone else wanted to be like. He had everything you could want in life, but it still wasn’t enough.

Before you can help people move from success to significance, they must question their definition of success. You can’t make them move from success to significance unless you help them see they’re living by an empty standard. They need to know that their definition of success doesn’t work.

Nicodemus realized this. The first verse of John 3 says, “There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews” (HCSB). You can learn a lot about Nicodemus’ vision of success in that Scripture. He was a Pharisee and a ruler of the Jews. Pharisees were among the most respected people of Jesus’ day—everyone wanted to be one. Nicodemus wasn’t just a Pharisee; he was also a leader of his people. His status made him a success. At least, that’s what Nicodemus thought.

Many of the people you want to reach in your community haven’t given much thought to their definition of success.

They’ve spent a lifetime learning about “success” from their parents, the culture, and their co-workers. Significance won’t come unless they challenge their assumptions about success.

Nicodemus defined success from his status, but he was beginning to question that assumption.

Why do I say that?

The Bible says Nicodemus came to Jesus at night. I don’t know why he did that, but I believe he may not have wanted the other Pharisees to know he had questions. Many of his friends—especially the “successful” ones—didn’t think much of Jesus.

Despite his fears, Nicodemus brought his questions and dissatisfaction to Jesus. The people you’re trying to reach have their own set of fears. If they admit they’re dissatisfied with their lives, will they be teased, lectured, judged, or disowned?

Nicodemus was the perfect example of a person who hit the bottom when he reached the top. We know that he paused and took an inventory of his life. He used to think he had everything, but he discovered he lacked the most important thing: significance. So he went to Jesus to find it.

That’s the first step. Next week, I’ll share with you the next step.

Related Posts

Subscribe to Rick Warren's Ministry Toolbox

Weekly Email for Pastors and Church Leaders

    We care about your data. Read our privacy policy.

    Pastor Rick Warren smiling