How Does Heaven Measure Success? — Carol McLeod Ministries


Success is something we all aspire to achieve before we die … don’t we?

We long to be successful in family life … with our finances … with personal discipline … in spiritual growth … in our relationships … in our chosen career.

Why, then, does success seem to be so elusive?

It always seems to me that others are more successful than I could ever dream of being … no matter how hard I work or how valiantly I try.

Their bank accounts are bigger … their weight is lower … their houses are cleaner … their gardens are prettier … their achievements are more impressive.


“Success is on the same road as failure … success is just a little further down the road.” – Jack Hyles

What does it mean to be a truly successful person?

More importantly … what does success mean to you?

Would you like to read the definition of “success” according to our infallible friend, Mr. Noah Webster?

Success: the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors; 

the accomplishment of one’s goals.

the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.”

H-m-m-m … not sure I agree with Mr. Webster … do you?

I don’t believe that success necessarily has anything to do with wealth, position or even honor.

I mean … a successful person certainly might achieve wealth, position, or honor … but those three temporary achievements do not guarantee true success.

Not in my book, anyway. Maybe in Mr. Webster’s book … but not in mine.

Allow me to explain …

I don’t believe that all millionaires are successful … neither do I believe that all senators are successful.

I don’t believe that all movie stars are successful … neither do I believe that all Super Bowl winning football players are successful.

Not all doctors are successful … not all Nobel prize winners are successful … not all dignitaries are successful.

At least in my book.

Again … maybe in Mr. Webster’s book … or in the book that defines our culture … but not in mine.

“Our greatest fear should not be of failure but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” – Francis Chan

Mr. Webster’s definition also states that success is “the termination of attempts or endeavors … the accomplishment of one’s goals.”

H-m-m-m … not sure about that one either.

So if I run for president but never win the office … does that mean I am a failure in life?

If I write a book but it never makes the New York Times Best Sellers’ List … does that mean I am unsuccessful?

If I work diligently my entire life but never make a million dollars … does that deem me as incompetent or a “might-have-been”?

I fear that Mr. Webster …our culture … Hollywood … politics … and the sports world have it all wrong once again.

At least in my book.

“Success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have.” – Zig Ziglar

In my opinion … success is not so much about achievement as it is about ethic.

I believe that success is not measured by accolades but rather by character.

“We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started.” – Harry Ward Beecher

I have learned … over the decades of my life … the value of faithfulness supersedes that of success.

Faithfully loving my husband … faithfully encouraging my children … faithfully exercising.

Faithfully writing every day … faithfully running a ministry … faithfully staying in touch with my friends.

Faithfully reading the Bible … faithfully choosing joy … faithfully being kind.

I have been pondering this phrase over and over and over again … “I don’t want to be famous … I just want to be faithful.”

I truly don’t want to be a celebrity … I want to be a general that leads an army of faithful warriors for the cause of Christ.

“I attribute my success to this … I never gave nor took any excuse.” – Florence Nightingale

So … Mr. Webster … sorry about that. I respectfully but strongly disagree with your definition of “success”.

In my book … which is the Bible … a man or a woman is eternally successful who faithfully and wholeheartedly gave their life to the unshakable kingdom of God.

Showers of earthly blessings certainly may come because of faithful living … but success is not measured by the enormity of bank accounts … the number of trophies in a case … or the magazines whose covers you may grace.

Success is measured by one faithful and righteous choice at a time.

“It is not your business to succeed, but to do right: when you have done so, the rest lies with God.” – C. S. Lewis

I have heard it said that the only valid metric of success is faithfulness.

Now there’s a definition with which I can agree.

“Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” – William Wilberforce

Thanks for listening to my heart this week.  As you know by now, my heart is truly not a perfect heart, but it is a heart that is filled to overflowing with gratitude for the life I have been given and for the people who walk with me.  And, it continues to be a heart that is relentlessly chasing after God and all that He is!