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The Measure of Success

I think it’s fair to say that everyone wants to win. Everyone wants to be a success. That’s hardwired into us. No one wants to be a loser. No body wants to be a failure. We all want to succeed. We want to do well.

And we see this in every aspect of our lives. When we play sports, we want to take home the championship trophy – not just the participation award. When we play board games or video games, we say we play for the fun, but still, we want to win. In war – no one goes into battle being okay with losing –  if we’re going to fight, we want the victory.

We want to succeed in our careers. We want to have succeed in raising our kids. We want to succeed at being a good husband or a good wife.

We even want to succeed as Christians. Nobody wants to be a lousy Christian – we want to be a successful one. We want our church to succeed. Clearly there is something hardwired into us that drives us towards success.

But the challenge in all areas of life is knowing what determines success. We have to know what the objective is.

Because if you’re a football player, successfully running the ball to the end of the field is a measure of success – but if you’re a golfer, it’s not. You’ll probably get kicked off the course if you’re out there tackling the other golfers, stealing their ball and running it down the fairway.

We have to know our objective – We have to know what constitutes success in whatever it is that we’re doing. If we don’t know what the objective is – if we don’t know what determines success – then we’re gonna have a really hard time being successful.

As a church, we need to know what determines our success. Are we successful because we’ve outgrown this space and need to move to a larger space over at the Hall? Is that success? If we get to the point where we need to build our own building, is that success? If we get to the point where we offer more programs and have greater attendance and have more baptisms and have a bigger facility than Crossroads – is that success? Or are we measuring success the wrong way?

We need to know what determines our success – or we may spend all of our time and our energy and all our effort trying to be really good…  at the wrong thing!

And this totally applies to each one of us personally. We already mentioned how every one us wants to be successful in life. We want to be a successful in our work, we want our marriage to be a success, we want to raise our kids successfully and I think, as followers of Christ, more than anything, we want to be a success in that. At the end of our lives as we stand before God, I think each one of us wants to hear God say “Well done, good and faithful servant!”

So it’s really important that we know what determines our success. To use our golf analogy, I don’t want to spend my life running running the golfball down the fairway, weaving around and dodging the other golfers like a football player (and being really good at that) – when all along I should’ve been practicing my putt. I want to know and do what it takes to be successful in God’s eyes – because that’s what really counts.

So today, I want to do two things.

Since this is the last service in this building before we move over to the Hall, I want to talk a little bit about how we can have success as a church. How will we know if we are being successful? Are we successful just to keep existing? Are we successful when we reach a certain number in attendance or dollars or sq footage or new believers? What is the measurement of success for our church?

And then, also being New’s Years Day, I want to talk about what it means for you to have success in  this new year. What do you need to do in order to be successful in 2017? Were you successful last year? What’s the measurement of your success?

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The Parable of the Three Servants

Did you had $100 in 1986? The reason I ask is because I was doing some figuring this week, and I found out that if you had taken $100 in 1986 and deposited it in the bank – the interest rates were about a 5¼% back then -so today, with the compound interest, that $100 would be worth $390.41. That’s an increase of nearly 300%. That’s not too bad, eh?

But then I thought, well, then instead of putting that money in the bank in 1986 – what if we had instead invested it in a reputable company – What if we had invested it in Ford? Well, if we had invested that same $100 in Ford in 1986, today it would be worth $716.38. That’s a little bit better isn’t it? As you see on our little bar graph chart, that’s nearly twice as much as you would have made from the bank. That would have been a much better investment.

Now I know that some of you don’t really appreciate Ford vehicles, so you’re not likely to invest with them. So let’s say instead that you invested in another big name company – General Electric. That same $100 invested in 1986 in General Electric would now be worth some $1552.13. That’s a 1400 percent increase! That’s twice as much as Ford, and four times as much as the bank. If only you had know this back in 1986.

But you know, both Ford and General Electric are pretty ‘safe’ companies. They’ve both been around for a long, long time – over a hundred years now. What if we had been a little more risky and invested in a company that had just formed only ten years prior to 1986? What if we had invested in Apple Computers Inc.? Are you ready for this? Well, believe it or not, that $100 invested in 1986 in Apple Computers Inc, would now be worth… over $45,000. $45,818.81 to be specific. That’s just from a little $100 dollar investment. Isn’t that incredible? If you had $100 in 1986 – you could have done that!

But let me give you just one more scenario.

Table of contents for Parables

  1. The Sower & the Soils
  2. The Parable of the Three Servants
  3. The Parables of the Lost Valuables
  4. The Parable of the Good Samaritan
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