WE often tend to equate fame with success, even if the notoriety is only on a local level. Yet it's evident that fame doesn't always equal success -- at least not in the deepest sense. Being well known may be the natural outcome of hard work and exemplary performance. But it may also be the result of factors that have little relationship to genuine success. Being important in the eyes of the world is a deceptive notion. It mistakes notoriety for the genuine achievement that underlies true greatness. The main issue, in relation not only to our success but to our ability to make a positive contribution to society, boils down to something quite different from how prominent we are. It relates to the quality of our thoughts and lives, to the degree of spirituality we embody. It relates to our practice of the precepts found in the Ten Commandments and in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. Do we worship the one God even in the smallest aspects of our lives? Are we meek and ``pure in heart''? The degree to which we can answer ``yes'' is the truest measure of our success.
Obviously, a different concept of success might cause us to argue against such a statement. Yet ultimately what truly exalts us and benefits others is a humble yielding to the one God, a willingness to do His will and to express the purity, love, wisdom, and so forth inherent in His nature. God, Spirit, is the only real creator and the only genuine source of good; whatever is based on an egotistical, worldly sense of good can't in the long run be successful.
Jesus said, ``The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.''1 These words point to the primary demand to identify ourselves as offspring of God, governed solely by Him. We can live successfully only to the degree we acknowledge our creator and reflect the divine nature in all we do.
Our authentic selfhood, created by God, is His spiritual, totally worthy image, not a fleshly creature of superior or inferior status. In God's sight, man is neither famous nor obscure but is His loved likeness, eternally valued. This may seem an abstract, impractical assertion. Yet a growing perception of the absolute spiritual reality of man can lift the mistaken, burdensome feeling that we must become important in the world's view, that some sort of fame is the only route to success. While honest labor and dedication are essential to our progress and to our ability to help humanity through our work, perhaps the most fundamental need is increasingly to yield to the divine will and to realize our true status as God's spiritual offspring.
Peter said, ``Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: but in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.''2 What a freeing thought! Our success, then, doesn't hinge on our status as a mortal. It hinges on the Godlike quality -- the righteousness -- of our lives.
Referring to God as Principle, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, notes, ``Take away wealth, fame, and social organizations, which weigh not one jot in the balance of God, and we get clearer views of Principle.'' She adds, ``Break up cliques, level wealth with honesty, let worth be judged according to wisdom, and we get better views of humanity.''3
True success has a spiritual basis, not a worldly one, and our recognition of this fact will benefit us and others immeasurably.
1John 5:19. 2Acts 10:34, 35. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 239.