Day 2: The Measure of Success

How do you measure success? Most would say that success is achieving a certain goal, but what if you struggle mightily for that goal and you don’t achieve it? Many would say that’s the definition of failure. But is it? There is a verse rather buried in the middle of the 11th chapter of Hebrews that might cast a different light on how we should measure success in life.

Hebrews 11 is often called ‘The Roll Call of the Faithful.” Among those in that roll call are people like Noah who was warned of things he had never seen and built an ark based on God’s promise of great things to come.

Abraham is listed there, too. At God’s urging, he left his home, going he knew not where because God gave him a dream of a city whose builder was God himself and a vision of his descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore.

What’s really interesting about their struggles is that none of them ever achieved success as we usually define it. Hebrews 11:13 says, “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised. They only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.”

Now look at that hidden gem in verse 16, “Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God.” What greater success can there be than that?

You see, the very act of dreaming has the power to grip us and stretch us and transform us—not necessarily reaching the goal, but striving for it. The great thing about being in the grip of God is that you don’t have to succeed to succeed!

I don’t know how others will measure the success of their life, but I do know that when all is said and done, I will be happy if someone can honestly look at my life and say, “God was not ashamed to be called his God.”

Written by Clark Cregger ’69
Retired Minister, Lilburn Christian Church