2006-10-25 - Real Success
Psalm 39:6, "He amasses riches; and does not know who will gather them."
How do you measure success? It seems that we are to live under the mindset that if we die with a million dollars, we have been a success, or something to that effect. We read from time to time of someone who was worth some extraordinary amount of money when they died. Don't believe it. No one is worth what they have when they die. Someone might not be worth four cents, though he possesses millions of dollars.
You could say, "But so and so died and left 200 million behind." Sure, and so will I, and everyone else. When I die, I will leave behind vast estates, beautiful private islands, city penthouse views that bring the skyline right to the window, and even more. I and many like me plan to leave all that behind. I plan to leave everything behind when I die.
"The stupid and the senseless alike perish, and leave their wealth to others," Psalm 49:10. The fool heaps up in this life, but partakes of little of that heap, and then dies for another to enjoy. How many who heaped up piles of gold would turn circles in their graves, if they knew what others were doing with all their worldly attainments?
Real riches are consecrated to God's glory. Real wealth is found in character. Real worth is measured in integrity and faithfulness. How many have seen all they worked for their entire lives vanish in a matter of an hour or less? Who has not watched Fox News or CNN and seen the victims of a tornado or flood saying in astonishment, "We have lost everything. Everything we have is gone?" The Christian can't say that. Everything a Christian truly has, he still has, even if all his Earthly possessions vanish with the wind or rain. I have been reading an old biography on John Bunyan, author of Pilgrims Progress, and several other works still in print today. He was in jail for a little over 12 years for preaching the Gospel. Here is what he said it taught him. "I was made to see that if ever I would suffer rightly, I must first pass a sentence of death upon everything which can properly be called a thing of this life, even to reckon myself, my Wife, my Children, my Health, my Enjoyments, and all as dead to me and myself as dead to them. And second to live upon God that is invisible."
It is interesting how suffering puts what is important in perspective. Christians in America don't know to much about suffering. You can say you do, but you have food, covering, plumbing, 911, and if you can read this: education. Christians throughout the world give their lives every day for their faith. Most of us don't know anything about suffering. Is your faith strong enough to lose all you have and still cling to Christ? It had better be, or your faith, if tested, may not come through the fire. It is an issue of the heart, but if we are laying up Earthly treasures, we are sadly mistaken. "The good man out of his good treasure beings forth what is good," Matthew 12:35. May this be true of us.
Soli Deo Gloria,