You yourselves know, brothers, that our coming to you was not in vain. 1 Thessalonians 2:1
We know that Paul’s accusers were Christians, because he calls them “brothers” when he gives them his answer. How could these brothers in Christ have thought that Paul’s ministry was a failure? Because they had a false definition of success.
It seems clear that some of the brothers at Thessalonica defined success as “everything being comfortable and everyone being happy.” If that is how they defined success, then Paul’s visit to Thessalonica was certainly a failure. And if that is your standard of success, you too will likely feel that your life, your family, and your church is a failure.
Nevertheless, a successful ministry does not mean a comfortable ministry. And a successful life, in God’s sight, is not the same as a carefree life. Plenty of God’s servants in the Bible suffered greatly in their service to the Lord. Many of them were looked at by the world as failures, or even as the “scum of the earth.” But God sees success and failure differently than the world does.
What is your definition of success? How do you measure it? If you look at your life, how do you know if it is a success? If you look at your family, how do you know if it is a success? If you look at your church, how do you know if it is a success?