Successful at Things That Are Useless

Ever known someone full of completely useless information? You know the type – constantly spouting off random, worthless facts.  “What a waste of brain power!” They possess a natural ability to memorize but exercise it on something of no value. They have become successful at something that is useless.  

But, before we pass judgment, we should consider the number of meaningless tasks we spend time on each day:

  • Checking Instagram 50 times – a minute.
  • Reapplying lipstick 12 times
  • Watching TV

Do we consider ourselves successful? What about the things we take pride in knowing how to do?

The Measure of Success

Success is defined so many ways.  Just a quick Google search kicks back many different definitions of the term. To get it right, we really ought to find out how God views success and successful people. 

Did you know the word “success” is only found once in the Bible?

Joshua 1:8, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”

Clearly, the path to success according to the Lord is found through His Word. Only heeding the Scriptures will lead your life toward success. No matter what occupation or interests you may have. The only success to be had is God’s version.

Maybe You Should Fear Success More Than Failure

We all desire success. No one I’m aware of just wants to be a failure in life. Many people are so afraid to fail that they take extreme measures. To some, failure is to be avoided at all costs. But may I propose that you ought to fear success more than failure. What do I mean? I draw this premise from an old pioneer missionary to India.

“I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid at succeeding at things that don’t matter.” -William Carey

What a different mindset yet so convicting. Many of the things we seek to be successful in or good at are completely worthless. Hobbies have a way of taking over our lives. They tend to define us. How many funerals have you been to where all that can be said is, “Well, she loved cats…”?

In the grand scheme of life, i.e. eternity, does it matter? Does what you are pursuing have eternal lasting weight?

  • In Heaven, will it matter that you were an expert online shopper?
  • At the end of your life, will it matter that you had the best Twitter account?
  • Will you wish on your deathbed that you had been amazing eyebrows?
  • Does God care about your toned abs and pumped up muscles?
  • Will the citizens of heaven be impressed that you knew every juicy detail of Hollywood stars?

Is It Wrong to be Successful at Your Hobbies?

By all means – No!

God created us with interests in many different things. What a bland world it would be to all be cookie-cutter humans. Our interest in hobbies reflects God’s creativity in us. The problem comes when the hobby becomes all-important. It’s a side item; it ought not to be the master over you.

In order to keep hobbies in their appropriate place, we must nail them to something eternal. By giving them substance, or an eternal value, God uses hobbies as a blessing. I’m not trying to over-spiritualize it. I’m just trying to keep hobbies in a right and proper perspective. When we put God and His Word first, that’s where true success is promised.

  • Baking skills could be used to make a meal for a sick member at your church or in the community.
  • Your artistic eye could serve well in designing graphics for missionary prayer cards.
  • Love of music could help singers in transposing printable worship music.
  • Your medical skills could be best used on a medical missions trip.
  • Love of running or staying fit shows that you value your body as the Temple of the Holy Spirit.
  • Your knowledge of mechanics could help repair a traveling evangelist’s car.
  • The possibilities are endless when given to the Lord!

Tips on Finding Worthwhile Hobbies

A fairly famous anonymous quote says that you should always have three hobbies. 

  • One hobby should keep you active.
  • Another hobby should make you money.
  • The third hobby should keep you creative.
  • I’m going to go one step further and say…. One hobby should keep you spiritually focused.

impact list for successful peopleI love the concept. So this is what my list looks like. I’m not perfect and don’t use me as a pattern. I’m just being transparent on how I apply this in my own free time.

  • Active? I enjoy playing outside with my little boy. I also like those 30-day Pinterest workout challenges.
  • Money? I enjoy writing for this website and I have my own photography business.
  • Creative? I love to cook new recipes.
  • Spiritual? I write cards to those on our church prayer list. I also keep an IMPACT list. This charts how much I’m actively investing in others. It’s neat to look back and see how God has used me in little ways. IMPACT is an acronym that stands for:
    • I= in home visit
    • M= meaningful conversation
    • P= phone call (I’m terrible at this one…)
    • A= activity
    • C= card
    • T= text message

Make It Practical

Think about what you enjoy doing when you have nothing else to do. Now take inventory. Does it honor God and help people? If not, I’d encourage you to seriously reconsider if that hobby is even worth your time. What a shame to be good at something useless.

“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Hannah Schmutzler

About the Author

Hannah Schmutzler

Hannah and her husband Cameron are currently on deputation, raising support so they can begin full-time missionary work in Mongolia. She juggles the demands of traveling with those of a toddler and keeps a sweet spirit through it all. Hannah has authored two books in addition to her writing for the Submissive Spirit. She also blesses us with her beautiful voice.

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