What is success ? Most people define success in terms of achieving goals, acquiring wealth, and having prestige, favor, status, and power. "Successful" people enjoy the "good life" - being financially secure, emotionally secure, being surrounded by admirers, and enjoying the fruits of their labor. Their example is emulated and their accomplishments are noticed. Most people's definitions of success only deal with the "here and now" of this life. Even in many churches today the definition of success is in terms of numbers, size, dollars and prestige.
But success is measured and defined differently by God. God's measure of success involves our obedience and faithfulness to Him, regardless of opposition and personal cost. His measure of success is whether or not we are being loyal to Him in our personal relationship with Him and in our life, and whether we are accomplishing His goals & purposes for our life. Some examples in the Bible:
Jeremiah was an absolute failure when judged by people's definition of success. For 40 years he served as God's spokesman, but when he spoke no one listened and responded. He was rejected by his neighbors, his family, the priests and prophets, friends, his audiences, and the kings. He was poor and underwent severe deprivation to deliver God's messages. He was thrown into prison and into a cistern. But in God's eyes he was a success. He faithfully and courageously proclaimed God's word and His messages, and he was obedient to his calling.
Jesus was also a failure, if you measure his life here on earth by people's measure of success. He had little in material possessions, and did not even own a home. He was rejected by most people, and was even hated by some. The religious leaders of the time despised him. Even his friends and those closest to him deserted him. He was accused and found guilty of things he did not do. He was beaten, spit on, cursed, mocked, and he suffered terribly and died the most horrible kind of death known to man at that time, death on the cross. Measure him by the way most of us measure success, and he was a failure. But in God's eyes, the redemption and salvation of all of mankind was accomplished through His son Jesus. By God's grace and great love for you and I, He sent Jesus to pay for our sins, and now the gift of a restored personal relationship with God and eternal life can be ours - all because of Jesus Christ.