Does Success Start on Sunday?

Does Success Start on Sunday?

In the outskirts of the city, on a road that’s walked as much as driven, a typical car brakes at a red light.

It is the kind of car so typical that the actual model stays blurry in memory. It is the kind of braking so natural that the driver must know this block. Everything in the scene fits: the worn road, the red light, the common car, but not the bumper sticker. That is a different story, with its weathered corners and sunbaked background accenting a phrase in all-caps Comic Sans: “Success Starts on Sunday.”

There is also a church name, one as typical as the car, listed below the slogan in smaller letters. And now we get it. Said straight, the shiny message on this tattered sticker goes:

If you want success then go to church.

We’ve seen this before. Whether the devil’s out to get us or that big promotion needs reeling in, the most necessary thing for us to do, as this initiative would say, is to be at church today. Prophesying peril is one way; promising prosperity is another — and it’s actually more insidious.

A lot more folks like the sound of success over the sensationalism of Satan-talk. Whole movements are built on that, in fact. And even if we’re not driving to a basketball arena this morning, there’s still a chance we’ll be gigged by that gimmick. Does success really start on Sunday? Does it?

The real question is, “What do we want?

If what we’re really after is to drive a nice vehicle or wear tailored suits or pad the 401k or grow business clientele or raise healthy kids or feel good about ourselves, then church attendance is not our problem. Idolatry is.

And if idolatry is our problem, we don’t need success, we need dust and ashes. We need to be made alive. Sunday, indeed, brings us hope for that, but it’s not this Sunday. It was a Sunday two thousand years ago when the earth shook and a large stone was rolled away. Jesus Christ, our Savior, crucified for our sins, dead in our place, was raised in power to overcome every obstacle to our everlasting joy in God.

Truth is, success doesn’t start on Sunday. Victory was accomplished on Sunday, and therefore we worship God alone, today and every other day of the week.


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Jonathan Parnell (@jonathanparnell) is a writer and content strategist at Desiring God, and is the lead planter of Cities Church in Minneapolis–Saint Paul, where he lives with his wife, Melissa, and their four children. He is also the co-author of How to Stay Christian in Seminary.