Success. The desire for it drives us.
Yet one single, absolute definition of success eludes us as there are so many lenses with which to view success. Still, somehow, it seems easy to recognize when success is achieved.
Would you agree with those statements?
Even the conversation about success is subject to a person’s viewpoint. Is success measured by a position in life, accomplishments, wealth, outcomes achieved, a sense of inner peace, the ability to aide our fellow human beings, obeying the Lord’s will no matter the cost?
We at Indiana Wesleyan University think about success quite often because we want our students to succeed in the classroom and in life. We want our alumni to succeed professionally. We want them to be well prepared for the journey God has laid out before them.
But there is something we want for our students to achieve even more than success. That is significance.
Recently I heard someone say that success is what dies with you. Significance is what outlives you.
I ask you, if it is so very challenging to define success in one absolute way, what does it mean for our lives to have true significance?
Significance, in my viewpoint, is when an individual uses his or her God-given gifts and abilities to impact the world for Jesus Christ, wherever that may be. It could be in a classroom, an office, a lab, a tent or a concert hall. The light in their eyes, the joy in their hearts is obvious when they are using their God-given gifts to the fullest for His glory.
A favorite part of my role as President is celebrating our alumni. The stories are endless, they are wide-ranging in variety, and truly inspiring.
Perhaps it is because of my background as a missionary kid, that I cannot help but feel drawn to the stories of alumni who go to regions of the world where they are a light for the Lord in a place that does not yet know Him. I often think of simple truths found in God’s word such as “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” (Proverbs 16:3) or “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). Both are true! Alumni who take the truth of God’s word seriously and live their lives to please Him –wherever it is that God leads them after IWU – achieve significance in ways that make me exceedingly proud.
With that in mind, I close with two alumni stories which I have shared with our Board of Trustees recently. If you enjoy these stories and want to read more, visit the IWU Alumni website at https://www.indwes.edu/alumni and look for the Alumni Blog. Also, be sure to visit the IWU Adult & Online Facebook page where posts regularly provide updates of National & Global alumni accomplishing great things within our world.
Marie Beechy – graduated in 2017 with a Master of Science in Nursing Education. Marie is the Director of Projects for One Refugee Child, an organization which raises funds to improve the day-to-day lives of refugee children. They have raised over $100,000 in funds for refugee children, delivered winter wear and blankets, handed out hundreds of strollers along with infant care items, provided school supplies for schools and distributed hygiene kits to newborns in refugee camps.
Ruth Olson (middle) – graduated in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. For Ruth’s first year out of college, she has been serving in Iraq meeting the medical needs of refugees with Samaritan’s Purse. She has returned home to Tennessee. Not only is she an awesome nurse, but she is a Christ follower who is choosing to use her gifts to help others and spread God’s love around the world.