The Key to the Question “How Do You Measure Success?”


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No collection or arrangement of poetic words can capture the depths of pain and hurt that one experiences in a life which feels wasted. I have struggled with this myself. It is very easy to look at all of those around us, friends and family, and compare ourselves to them. It is a common American pastime. And It is the wellspring of our rat-race to see who can get the best job, nicest car, best toys, and hottest wife.

For myself, I am a man of little possession or position. I have several friends who are finishing their Ph.D’s and others in incredible careers—men of no small standing and are influential on a national scale. Moreover, there is the man with the perfect life and seemingly perfect family—2.5 kids and the white picket fence.

But are these the measures of success? Yes.

Now before you angrily slam your coffee down, hear me out.

These are the measurement’s of success to western, and especially American, society. The American dream has long been transformed from the simple but fruitful life to the Hollywood dream of as much nasty filthy sex and money one can get their hands on.

But this is not true success. This is not lasting happiness.

The truth is in VH1’s Behind the Music.

As a kid I remember watching this show with my Dad. Perhaps not the best show to watch with you son with all the debauchery, strippers, sex, drinking, and partying. One thing that stuck out to me was how often these rock stars, despite all the money and sex one could want, were always miserable and either ended up dead or turned their lives around.

The Hollywood standard of success is empty.

No less empty, the standards of success from the ivory tower of learning is futile in its’ own right.

No amount of national or international recognition, brilliant paper written, or greatest mind in whichever field can bring true meaning to a life.

As unbelievable, inexplicable, and irrational as it may seem, God seems to have always favored the lowly—those of the least earthly significance.

He chose for himself a people who constantly turned their back’s on Him.

He came to the uneducated and lowly.

And though He loved the powerful and important, He spoke to and chose to be represented by the average, insignificant, and physically unimpressive.

God himself, in choosing to take flesh and calling men to usher into His kingdom, had the pick of the entire earth. He could have taken form in the palaces of the greatest power on earth and called for himself the wisest of men to be his followers.

No. He chose to be born to nobodies in the backwaters of a ho-bunk town, utterly insignificant in humanity’s eyes.

But God saw the value.

And when He called fishermen, tax-collectors (notorious and hated sinners), and tent makers, Christ showed what He considered true value.

Meekness. Humility. One’s who did not find their value and treasure here on earth.

But imagine if one of these men whom Christ would one day call to be a disciple thought to himself, “I am a nobody. I am not successful, not like those men over there.” But where are those men know? Forgotten. Unimportant.

Who are we to measure what is of value and what is not!?

How do we measure success and value in life?

It is not with any ruler or marker which the world uses or even one which we may naturally be inclined toward using.

The key is to live for Christ and let him work out your significance. Work for honors and laurels in the Kingdom and not for the lauding love and affection of the world.

THEOLOGY21 is a co-op of authors dedicated to renovating theology for a new generation, taking the ancient truths of scripture and theology and speaking to the post-Christian culture of the 21st century. To keep up-to-date on all things THEOLOGY21, Give our Facebook page a “like”, follow our twitter page, add yourself to our email list, or subscribe to our feed!

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