Summary: What’s your goal in life? At the end of your life, looking back what’ll determine whether you’ve been a success or not? When you’ve run the race what’ll determine if you’ve finished well and if you’ll hear Christ say, “Well done”?


LUKE 9:23-26

Introduction: What is your goal in life? When you come to the end of your life and look back what would determine whether you have been a success or not? When you have run the race what will determine if you have finished well and if you will hear the words from the King of Eternity, “Well done!”?

I. The World’s View of Success

A. Having achieved material wealth

1. Many believe that success is the foundation of a happy life. Success is wealth, wealth is happiness; therefore, success is happiness.

2. Luke 12:16-20 “Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’

3. A railroad magnate was dying. Addressing his son who stood by his bedside, the dying man said, “Son, take hold of my hand,” which he did. Then the man said, “My son you are holding the hand of the man who has made the greatest failure of any man that ever lived.” “But,” said the son, “Father, why do you speak thus? You are worth a million dollars. You are president of the railroad. You number your friends by the thousands. Your word is as good as your bond. Why speak thus?” The poor man looked up and said, “It is like this. I have lived for time and not for eternity. I have made no preparation for the next world. I must leave all here. It is all dark.” Thus he passed to the unknown world. He was right “What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul? – By William Moses Tidwell, “Effective Illustrations.”

4. Matthew 6:24 "You cannot serve God and wealth."

B. Having been a good family member

1. A young woman asked to define success answered “When I am 65 and I am still married and committed to the guy of my youth, and care as much then I’ll have been successful. Otherwise, I will say it was just life”

2. A professing Christian said “In the end I will consider my life successful and well lived if my tombstone can say: I provided for my family, I raised my children to be successful members of society, I contributed to the needy. I helped someone; by giving beyond my means (sacrificed), I worked toward leaving America better off than my generation inherited.

3. 1 Timothy 5:8 “But if anyone does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

C. Having made the world a better place to live.

1. Some would say that success is taking the time to make the world a little better for having you in it.

2. "Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity, of application of new ideas of scientific progress for the benefit of all" – Linus Pauling, scientist, Humanist of the Year in 1961, Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1954, Nobel Peace Prize in 1962

3. 1 Peter 1:12 “Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”

4. The believer needs to realize that the world is not going to get better - 2 Timothy 3:13 “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

D. Having the ability to look at oneself in the mirror and feel you have done right.

1. Proverbs 21:2 “Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the hearts.”

2. One man said, “Success means looking in the mirror and liking what you see.”

3. Deuteronomy 12:8 “You shall not at all do as we are doing here today—every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes”

E. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “What Is Success?”

To laugh often and much; To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;

To earn the approbation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;

To appreciate beauty; To find the best in others; To give of one’s self;

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