Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season.Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.” – Psalms 1:1-3.

The story is told of a new bank president who met with his predecessor and said, “I would like to know what have been the keys to your success.” The older gentleman looked at him and replied, “Young man, I can sum it up in two words: good decisions.” To that the young man responded, “I thank you immensely for that advice, sir, but how does one come to know which are the good decisions?” “One word, young man,” replied the sage. “Experience.” “That’s all well and good,” said the younger man, “but how does one get experience?” “Two words,” said the elder, “bad decisions.”

If any one of us would look back and review/examine our history, I believe we would probably do things differently. Looking back at past choices, the decisions seem so easy and the right decision so obvious because we know how it will all play out since it’s passed. We also wonder how our much our life would be different, and how more successful we would been if we had made different decisions.

A study asked a broad group of people this question: At the end of your life, how will you know you’ve succeeded? The answers were: “It’s important how my kids turned out…Did I live a personally rich and fulfilling life?…Did I positively change lives?… Did I build meaningful and deep relationships?…Did I really love my spouse? and Did I make a difference?”

Effective small groups can assist you in making better decisions as well as helping you in each of the measures of success listed above. Small groups are designed to help us be more like Jesus and that means giving our life to helping others. We want people to experience His grace and love and peace. Small groups can help us give priority to relationships and to stay with the people God puts us with, even and maybe especially when staying is hard, and when staying hurts. People in small groups can feel your pain, and yet see the best in people, and making a habit of telling people how valuable they are. It all comes from investing in others and sharing our time and our lives. 

I think we can make a fairly strong correlation between success in our walk with God and doing life with others in community. Success from God’s perspective is progressive. It is not static and it does not deal just with the results. Success deals with the process … the journey. And the best way to embark and then make progress on that journey is with others helping you along.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your definition of success?
  2. Do you believe that small groups can assist you on your journey with God. If so, how so?
  3. Do you have enough margin in your life for this kind of shared life? What needs to go so you can create more margin?
  4. What is the value of investing in relationships with others in a group?