It is said of the measure of a man, “If there be any truer measure of a man than by what he does, it must be by what he gives.” Robert South
Even more true is what Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
Thing is, are these ways that God measures us? Does God even measure us at all? Is measuring more important than remembering? Success is not truly measured by what we did, it is by how it was accomplished. Accomplishing success through fame and fortune gets us nowhere but being successful as a parent, friend, and a person who lives in his/her faith, that is the measurement of success in God’s eyes.
Today I want to speak about how we want our kids to remember us and be remembered ourselves. When we are remembered do we want to be remembered for our fame and fortune, our accomplishments, or our person as a whole. In a list of 20 Bible Verses about success this one was missing:
“Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7-9
Sure the other verses (some of which will come up in this and later discussions) are great but why was this one not on the list? Of the twenty verses mentioned only two were even close to mentioning staying in the Word and obedience to the Laws and statutes given by God to His people. To me, staying in the Word, meditating on it daily and teaching the children to stay in the Word and finding comfort there are only part of being a success. Joshua that section above to, ”be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” God is telling Joshua not only to read/meditate and stay in His Word but also to “be” in His Word by acting upon it. That, Brothers and Sisters, is how God measures success.
Teaching children in the way they should go (paraphrased Proverbs 22:6) is our way of showing our youth how God desires of us to live. Scripture tells us these basics, study hard and use what you have learned to become better servants. In this day and age; wealth, power, and fame are a measure of success. Show me that in Scripture and you can have my job. Nowhere in Scripture does it say to make tons of money so you can live a life of luxury and be comfortable in the world.
Having a source of income is necessary for living but too much of it leads to greed and a distortion of the reason for being here. Jesus tells us:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? Matthew 6:25-27.
“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
So we are not to worry because God will provide us as long as we stay in His Word. For:
”Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4
“Commit to the LORD whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.” Proverbs 16:3
“And observe what the LORD your God requires: Walk in obedience to him, and keep his decrees and commands, his laws and regulations, as written in the Law of Moses. Do this so that you may prosper in all you do and wherever you go.” 1Kings 2:3
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
“But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today.” Deuteronomy 8:18
If we so desire to stay in the world and forget what God has placed in our hearts, Scripture gives us these warnings from Jesus:
“What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? 27For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done.” Matthew 16:26-27
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. 11So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?”
Paul reiterates Jesus Teachings by saying:
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
Look at all the wealthy people in the world and see how few actually claim to know God. Some had a relationship with God and lost it when popularity and fame took over their lives (Katy Perry for instance). Some misinterpreted Scripture and have made money from others desire for God (certain televangelists and mega church pastors). We cannot be judgmental, we must carefully consider them as lost Christians who desire money instead of pleasing God.
Worldly wealth truly leads you nowhere especially if that is what you depend on. So many people have gone back to the basics of life while holding on to certain technologies out of necessity for staying in the world. They are building houses on their own using the land and some man made materials to avoid mortgages and staying in debt. Planting their own gardens so that they only have to buy certain meats. Some even make their own clothing. God desires great things for us but in His way not ours of the world.
So where does this all lead. Get back into the Scripture and really see how God is telling us we will be successful. If we open our hearts and mind to His Word (OT Scripture and most of all, Jesus) we can be the people God desires in His creation. Remember the difference between believing in and being in then you will have Spiritual and mortal success which will lead to a better, happier life as will your descendants. Be the caretakers (or better put care givers) of this current home and we will have a seat at the table in the Kingdom. Be blessed this week and bless others with God’s Word as you go about your day living for God.
God Bless you and may your light shine brightly on the earth.
Father God, Creator Parent, bringer of joy, we thank You for giving us the guidance needed to live on this place and not in it. Thank you Father for giving us guidance so we have the opportunity to shine for You as we do our best to live for You. Teach us, oh Lord, and chide us as needed to stay on the right path that leads to Your loving and compassionate arms. We lift up our arms in Your praise as You have taught us to give to others what You have given us. Continue to guide us, oh Lord, that we may light the world through the darkness and direct those onto Your path. Thank You God for the things You have done, are doing, and will do in our lives and continue to bless us with Your ways. In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, AMEN.