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The measure of a man

Does God see us the same way that we see ourselves? Focusing mainly on the ideas of material achievements and self-sufficiency, Amelia cautions that there might be a big difference between our own opinions of ourselves and God's.
Our culture places a tremendous emphasis on the idea of self-sufficiency. We judge ourselves and are judged by others based on our educations, our social and business prominence, the size of our investment portfolios, the type of cars we drive, and whether our closets are large enough to dance in. We've come to believe that the more we can make of ourselves, the better off we'll be. This may well be the way to make progress by worldly standards—success in the flesh—but what good does it do for the state of our souls?

When we depart this life for the next, we'll no longer be known as the doctor, or the savvy investor, or the owner of the $60,000 car or the thousand-piece wardrobe. No one will care how quickly we climbed the corporate ladder or how busy our social calendar was. Accomplishments like these aren't the measuring sticks that the Lord uses when He looks at the kind of people we are. Are we humble? Are we meek? Are we temperate? Are we compassionate? Are we merciful? Are we holy? These are the characteristics by which God and others will recognize us when we leave the world.

We don't see clearly in this life. We're confused and misled by so many influences, from both within and without, and our sense of judgment is compromised. We say that one person is better or worse off than another, but the criterion by which we make our decision is completely wrong. We see one person as rich, one as powerful, one as innovative, one as successful, and so forth—these distinctions matter to us on earth. But when we leave the earth, we realize that there's really only one kind of person: A child of God, a servant. The type of servant we are is the criterion by which we'll be judged and by which we ought to judge ourselves. As for judging our neighbors, we have neither the right nor the authority.

When we stand before our Master, which type of servant will He see? As the Gospel of Saint Matthew (Chapter 25) tells us, there are only two types: Good and faithful, or wicked and slothful. These are the true measures of a man. Every other measure of success is merely vanity.

Let’s not misplace our priorities, focusing on the temporary and neglecting the eternal. Let’s not travel in the wrong direction, so fixated on where we are immediately that we don't notice where we're headed. Let’s set our sights on the Lord and not on ourselves. Let’s remember the holy Apostle Paul ’s advice on the matter:

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

It's not wrong to achieve things in life, but we should choose our goals with holy insight, chase them with holy fervor and a holy purpose, and achieve them in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Certainly we're expected to make something of ourselves and not waste our time here, but what we make of ourselves is expected to be something godly.

If we're to make any mark on the world, if we'll end up being known or remembered for anything, with God's help let it be something good!