The Measure Of Success


Have you ever wondered if what you do matters?

You give it all you got, but you don’t feel like you compare to those “super-Christians”.

Maybe you’ve even thought that you could do more for God if you had the gifts, skills or resources of someone you know?

Let’s look at this passage and see how God measures success.

The measure of success

Matthew 25:14-25 “It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money“After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given five thousand dollars showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: ‘Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.’ “The servant given one thousand said, ‘Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.’

Wow, what an intense story! Three different people start with so much potential. It seems to me that, based on the ending statements, the outcome was solely determined by the actions and decisions of the person entrusted.

Could this be a word for us that there really is no excuse for not faithfully stewarding what God has trusted us with? Could an inference be made that his expectations are fair because He like the master in the story doesn’t expect an equal amount returned from each servant but instead expects a return based on what they were given? He gave differing amounts but he didn’t require the one given two to come back with ten in order to be at the same level as the servant given five.

Faithfulness as a measure of success

Faithfulness is the only key measure that I see in the parable. You have been faithful”, this is the acknowledgment they are given. Not, you gave an increase by this much and you by this much, but you were faithful. The first two servants were commended for their faithfulness.

On the other hand, the servant given one thousand dollars was not commended. He returned what was given to him: Verse 25 … “Here you have what is yours.” I think it’s worth noting that the servant returned every penny that was given. The servant didn’t spend it or lose it, it was all there. So this servant was faithful in his own right. But in the end, as the story shows, this kind of faithfulness doesn’t please the master.

So the question for us might be:

1) what kind of faithfulness pleases God?

2) What kind of faithfulness am I showing?

Jesus put it this way in Matthew 16:24-25  “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.”

If our faithfulness is simply to play it safe and our motto is, don’t rock the boat, then our faithfulness models after the third servant. The measure of success God wants from us is faithful obedience to whatever he calls us to. I hope this brings you some relief. Because it will be based on your faithfulness with what you have not what you don’t have. 

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