Success Isn’t Measured By Money

People often look to worldly barometers as measures of success – academic achievements, professional accolades, wealth, power, prestige, etc.  These things do not impress God. Instead, he measures success in spiritual terms.

Consider, for example, Jesus’ little story about a rich fool.

“And he said to them, ‘Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ And he told them a parable, saying, ‘The land of a rich man produced plentifully, and he thought to himself, “What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?” And he said, “I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’” But God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.’”

(Luke 12:15-21)

The Farmer’s Commendable Traits

  1. His land produced an abundance.  Although God blesses farmers with natural resources – fertile land, seeds, fertilizer, water, sunshine, etc. – a successful farm is usually the byproduct of careful planning and a lot of hard work. This includes crop selection, cultivation, planting, harvesting, and many other ingredients of long-term success.
  2. He planned for the future.  He wanted to retire, and so he specified lofty dreams, he set goals, and he mapped out some specific plans. One might say that he implemented all the best success strategies for a life of abundance.

But He Forgot the Most Important Thing

  1. His focus was materialistic.  The object of his attention was an easy and pleasurable life in the here and now. His ultimate dream was a life of leisure.
  2. His perspective was selfishDo you notice how many times he uses the terms, “I” or “my,” in the parable above? His whole orientation is egocentric – about “himself.”
  3. His precious moments were slipping away.  What he did not realize is how little time on earth he had left. Time is a precious commodity, and he was about to run out of it.
  4. His priorities were not God-centered.  Jesus drives the point home: “So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”This little episode reminds us of another saying of Jesus.

We would do well to take it to heart.  “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Mt. 16:26)

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