Success and Significance


"For it is not the one commending himself who is approved, but the one the Lord commends." —2 Corinthians 10:18


I’m a fan of Coach John Wooden’s book, Pyramid of Success. Throughout my teaching and coaching career, I’ve shared with others how it has influenced my life in many helpful ways. Recently, during an FCA coaches’ Bible study, it occurred to me that the ideas that influenced me could just as easily be called the “pyramid of significance.”

Webster defines success as “an outcome or result; favorable or desired outcome; the attainment of wealth, favor or eminence.” The definition of significance reads, “Something that is conveyed as a meaning often obscurely or indirectly; the quality of being important.”

As coaches, we have probably all been in discussions about the matter of success versus significance. One of them seems to have more visible results, such as wins and championships, while the other appears to involve things of more intrinsic value. Without a doubt, they are both important to us as Christians. For example, a Christian youth rally that had a large attendance would more than likely be termed a success. It may certainly have been. Yet, a huddle meeting attended by only five or six student athletes may have a more significant impact on the few young people who attended it.

A choice certainly does not have to be made between one or the other—success or significance. Both are clearly important. In athletics, more attention typically gets paid to those who are having a certain degree of success in their sport. It is in those instances that God can use us, for His glory, if we will allow those minutes of success to be transformed into moments of significance by giving honor to the rightful owner—God.


1. Is success or significance more important to you? To God?
2. What are some of the successes in your teaching or coaching career?
3. In what situations have you played a significant role in growing God’s kingdom?


Extra Reading: Proverbs 19:21; Ecclesiastes 10:10; 1 Corinthians 3:13–14; Philippians 2:13–16; 1 Timothy 4:7–8


Lord, I ask that You point out to me opportunities to be significant in the lives of others. I know successes will come and go, but don’t let me miss even one chance to positively influence another person’s life for You. Amen.