MEASURE OF LIFE – What is Success?

Solomon completed building the Temple of God — the project he had set his heart on doing.
Everything was done—success! Satisfaction!
2 Chronicles 7:11

DATELINE: Sunday, June 19, 2016: 90 degrees, full sun, billowy clouds and a brisk breeze. It’s a perfect day in Traverse City, Michigan! We’re visiting Randy, our oldest son, celebrating both Father’s Day and Spencer’s (grandson) 14th birthday. The celebration has ended so I head for the pool. Lying on an air mattress, totally relaxed, my mind wanders aimlessly. Suddenly, a question that had meandered through my brain for several days’ surfaces again. WHAT’S SUCCESS?

At age 74 the common cultural answers have been rejected: status, degrees, wealth, power, etc. …. In the lives of “the well-known I’ve seen them all demonstrated to be less than adequate to sustain and satisfy the human spirit. EG: Elvis hit the scene when I was in Jr High. I vividly remember his first national gig on the Ed Sullivan Show. Yes, it’s really true: the camera only shot his upper torso. No hip action on TV in those days! Before hard rock and heavy metal took over Elvis was the pop, cultural icon for over a decade. Without exaggeration, he had it all. And yet, well, you know “the rest of the story”! Most recently it was Prince!



Back to the pool.  As the breeze effortlessly navigates me around the pool I focus on the surrounding environment. Forty foot pine trees capture my attention. They appear to be giant dancers swaying with the rhythm of the wind. I muse: “What’s success for a pine tree?” A female cone is pollinated by a male cone (I never knew there are female and male pine cones!). Driven by a precise hereditary design, the fertilized cone automatically develops into a mature pine tree over time. SO, success is the realization of the Creator’s design. “It is … what it is!”


I hear some rumblings: “That’s too simplistic.” Listen to three persons of distinction.

  1. Isaac Newton (referred to as the Father of Modern Science): “Nature is pleased with simplicity and nature is no dummy!”
  2. Albert Einstein (Father of Atomic Energy): “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
  3. Henry David Thoreau (famous transcendental author): “Simplicity is the law of nature for men as well as for flowers.”


Half hour of full sun – I’m baking! Time to exit. I paddle to the ladder and flop out of the floating mattress. I look at the mattress. Invented by Frank Masterson in 1961, it was designed to support a person on top of water … even a 185 pounder! It was a success – the realization of Masterson’s design. “It is … what it is!”

God looked at everything he had made. And he saw that everything was very good.”[1] The Creation was the realization of the Creator’s design! Consequently, it was a GREAT SUCCESS … VERY GOOD!


[1] Genesis 1:31