How God Measures Success - The Warrior's Journey®

How God Measures Success

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“Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.’” (Mark 12:43-44) 

Who is the fastest human being? I don’t mean someone who flies in a jet or spacecraft, but someone travels under their own power. Without dispute, that person would have to be the Jamaican sprinter, Usain Bolt. He holds the records for running the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes – 9.58 seconds and 19.19 seconds respectively. This means, for a brief period, he reached a speed of 27.8 miles (44.72 kilometers) per hour. 

Of course, this pales in comparison to Felix Baumgartner’s speed. When he jumped from his balloon-suspended gondola at 128,097 feet (about 24 miles) above the earth, he reached a speed of 833.9 miles per hour (Mach 1.24). In the process he also became first person to break the sound barrier without an aircraft. So, moving under his own power, Fearless Felix is by far the faster man. 

But let’s be fair. Felix Baumgartner had two huge advantages in his favor. He had the force of gravity to pull him and he had nothing to hold him back. At an altitude of 24 miles, there is virtually no air and no chance of wind resistance. Gravity did all the work and the atmosphere did nothing to slow him down. That’s why he could travel at the speed of a .357 bullet. 

In contrast, Usain Bolt, was charging through the bottom of an ocean of air – where the pressure is 14.7 lbs. per square inch. And Bolt wasn’t aided by gravity. He was fighting it.  Considering the obstacles that the sprinter had to overcome and energy he expended, Usain Bolt was by far the faster man. As Booker T. Washington once wrote, “success is to be measured not so much by the position one has reached in life as by the obstacles which one has overcome while trying to succeed.” 

This how Jesus measures our sacrifice and service to Him. He sees the “behind the scenes” battles that we fight to accomplish His work. He sees the obstacles we overcome to do His will. He sees how deeply our giving cuts – though it be small compared to the gifts of others.  This was the case when Jesus saw the tiny gift of the poor widow (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus knew she gave her all, while the others gave only a small fraction of their wealth. So do not lose heart. Jesus sees your faithful service to Him. His welcome and reward will infinitely outweigh every bit of the pain you suffer. 


  • In Jesus’ value system, can two tiny copper coins outweigh a bag of gold? How? 
  • Is it also possible that your small service for the Lord could outweigh the work of some great evangelist – if it is done sacrificially, faithfully, and in love? 
  • Let’s faithfully serve the Lord Jesus, knowing He sees and appreciates all we do. 

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