Summary: In this study you will see the way Jesus measured success.
This week our children have been studying "The Secret of My Success." This is a timely and much needed study. It is something of which all of us have an interest. Every man, woman, boy, and girl wants to be successful in life. The question that needs to be asked is “How Do You Measure Success?” We struggle to find the answer.
Joke: I heard about a Texas oil man who had millions of dollars. As he grew older he began to think about death. He requested that they bury him in his white Cadillac, dressed in a cowboy suit, with his cowboy hat on his head, and a cigar in his mouth. Sure enough, his family honored his request. When he died they dug a huge hole and buried man, car, cowboy hat, and cigar--- just as the man requested. On the day of his funeral his friends and family passed by as the grave side service concluded. One of the man’s friends made the comment, in passing by the scene, “Man that’s living.”
I think the friend missed something. Many people make the same mistake. Jesus had something to say about success. “Life is not measured by how much you own.” (Luke 12:15 NLT) Let me take a few minutes to consider two questions. One, how do we measure success? Two, how does Jesus measure success?
First, how do we measure success? Men tend to measure success by one of three standards.
1. We measure success by power.
Erma Bombeck – wrote something called rules… 1) Never have more children than you have car windows. 2) Never loan your car to someone to whom you have given birth. 3) Pick your friends carefully. A "friend" never goes on a diet when you are fat or tells you how lucky you are to have a husband who remembers Mother’s Day--when his gift is a smoke alarm. 4) Seize the moment. Remember all those women on the Titanic who waved off the dessert cart. 5) Know the difference between success and fame. Success is Mother Teresa. Fame is Madonna.
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Steve Malone)
Rules 5 puts power into perspective.
2. We measure success by pleasure. We are living in a society obsessed with pleasure.
Dr. Gary Smalley once said he was a recovering Hedon. He defined hedonism as the old playboy philosophy of life. The free dictionary online (www.thefreedictionary) defines hedonism as: 1. Pursuit of or devotion to pleasure, especially to the pleasures of the senses. 2. Philosophy The ethical doctrine holding that only what is pleasant or has pleasant consequences is intrinsically good. 3. Psychology The doctrine holding that behavior is motivated by the desire for pleasure and the avoidance of pain….
3. We measure success by possessions. That is the truth behind Jesus statement.
There is a story about a wealthy Christian who was obsessed with the idea of taking some of his wealth to heaven. He knew the Bible clearly teaches that you cannot take it with you. He could not settle this issue so he prayed that God would give him permission to take some of his wealth to heaven with him. Finally, his persistence paid off. God spoke to him and said, "Okay, you can take one suitcase with you into heaven." The story continues with the man deep in thought, "What do I take? What are the most valuable things that I can put into my suitcase?" He finally decided and filled his suitcase full of gold. When he died, he slowly approached the pearly gates dragging his suitcase behind him. St. Peter met him at the gate and said, "Wait a minute. What do you think you’re doing? You’re not allowed to take anything into heaven." The man answered, "You don’t understand. I have special permission from God to take this suitcase into heaven." Peter rubbed his beard and said, "Well, that’s very unusual. I cannot imagine God letting you do that. Let me look inside your suitcase and see what’s there." So the man dragged the suitcase over, and Peter opened it to see that it was filled with gold bars and gold bricks. Peter said, "Well, all right. If God said so, I suppose you can take that in if you want. But why in the world did you go to all this trouble just to bring more pavement into heaven?"
(Contributed to Sermon Central by Don Hawks) We might chuckle at that story. However, there is more truth than fiction in the story. We tend to lose perspective about possessions. Jesus said “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Mt. 16:26
Second, look at Jesus’ measure of success.
1. Jesus measures success by your life purpose.