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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Measure (01/10/13)

TITLE: The Measure of a Man
By Ron Barnes


How do we measure success? At the end of the day, how do we determine the effectiveness of our efforts? There are many ways. For some, the measure is the accumulation of worldly goods. The motto of many who subscribe to this philosophy is “The one who dies with the most toys wins”. To me, this has always seemed like a short-sighted goal. The one who dies with the most toys is dead. What enjoyment does he get from his toys now? I have never seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer.

I am reminded of the story of the man who led a Godly life and had accumulated a great deal of wealth. One night, he had a dream in which God came to him and said, “You have been my good and faithful servant all your life. Tell me your fondest wish and I will grant it.”

The man replied, “Lord, when I die, I want to take my wealth with me.”

The Lord replied, “So be it.”

Eventually, the man did die and Saint Peter sees him approaching the pearly gates dragging an enormous bag of gold bricks. Saint Peter says to the man, “Welcome. We’ve been expecting you and you are certainly welcome. But one thing puzzles me. Why have you gone to so much trouble just to bring us more paving stones?”

For others, the measure is their artistic, scientific or scholarly accomplishments. I have written music. I have developed educational material and published web sites. I have received a great deal of positive feedback from these efforts and enjoyed creating them. But these things would have no value if they did not benefit others. I am reminded of what one of my professors told me when I was studying adult education. He said that the measure of an adult educator is how many of his students surpass him. I am also reminded of my father, who once told me that the only things you get to keep in life are the things you give away.

Perhaps this is the true measure of our time on this planet. If I leave this world no better than I found it, what was the point of my being here? I believe our Father had a purpose in sending me here. Throughout my life, he has guided me to opportunities to use the resources he has provided to enrich others. Whether it was equipping people for profitable careers in the classroom, providing examples of sober behavior as I performed in bars, sharing spiritual thoughts through my ministry or helping my wife deal with physical challenges, my greatest joy has always been seeing the effects of my efforts in enriching the lives of others.

If I were to have the same dream as the one mentioned above, my fondest wish would be when I am finally face to face with our Father, He would smile at me and say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. Now here’s your next assignment.”

To which I will reply, “Thank you, Father. I’m on it.”

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 322 times
Member Comments
Member Date
clarissa aguilera01/17/13
Excellent work on the story. Very well spoken from the heart,and worded. Definitely, real talk... "how about i agree'. Good job,"great job actually".

Again, i really liked your story.

"May I..." encourage you to use scripture next challenge. "Add a little hot sauce, spice it up a bit"! ;)
Theresa Santy 01/18/13
You made me well up with this one. This piece is profound, loving, smooth-flowing, and very, very, well-written.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
Wow this really made me teary eyed. It reminds me of several times this year when I found myself humbled by my children. I am grieving my empty nest as they all moved onto a different phase in their life but when I worried about how college tuition would be paid, one of them would remind if God wants me here it will work out. They are at the point where they have surpassed me and I know I've done my job well. That's what is so awesome about this piece--everyone can find a way to relate, whether they have helped newbies learn to write better only to see their name on the rankings below their buddy or if they are a mentor to and see the child graduate college. This piece shows how God gives us certain gifts. We may not change the world but if we change one person's world God will say well done. You have lifted my spirits by writing this piece and I have no doubt that Jesus is nodding his head and saying well-done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/20/13
Ii gushed over this but then thought of some tiny red ink. I rarely say anything about titles because often I either don't read them or have trouble thinking of one. But Measure of a Man is too pedantic for an extraordinary piece. It needs a title to make it stand out so people are drawn to it. I hope that makes sense...now back to gushing! :-)
C D Swanson 01/22/13
This touched my heart. Beautiful. God bless~
Terry R A Eissfeldt 01/23/13
I can tell you're a teacher. And a good one. Well done
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/24/13
Congratulations for ranking eighth in level 1! The top 12 rankings in each level can be found on the message board.