By Dr. Harold Sala

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. Psalm 1:1-2, KJV 

What is the true mark of a person?  His age, his worth, his ideas, or his accomplishments? To the Eastern mind, a person is often measured by the length of his beard or the white of his hair. Thus wisdom in the Orient is synonymous with age. To the business person, worth is often considered to be the true mark of an individual. We say this person is worth a cool million, meaning that he is worth a million dollars or whatever currency you use. How the person made that money is not important. It may have been through manipulation or dishonest and deceitful business practices, and when we stop and think about life, we have to conclude that worth is not necessarily the true mark of a man.

The philosopher would suggest that a person’s ideas are his true mark. And who can underestimate the power of an idea? Victor Hugo, the French philosopher, recognized the great power of thought when he said, “Nothing in all the world is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”  Notice how the ideas of Karl Marx and Lenin changed the course of history! Would you say that a man’s ideas are his true mark?

In the sight of God being is more important than doing.

The pragmatist would say, “Away with ideas!  Away with the dreamer and the visionary!”  He would say, “Show me what a man has done and I will show you his true mark.”  The pragmatist is interested in accomplishment‑‑what has a person accomplished?  Would you say that accomplishment is the true mark of a man?

How do you suppose God looks at a person? What measure does God use in determining the true mark of a person, his true greatness? I think we would all agree that in these days of greed, pressure, and exploitation, surely God views life from a different perspective. What does God use for the true measure of a person?

Some time ago, when Richard Nixon was President of the United States, he stood before the coffin of Dwight David Eisenhower in the U.S. Capitol rotunda in Washington and said these words, “We find ourselves today thinking first not of his deeds but of his character. It was the character of the man‑‑not what he did but what he was.”  I do not think that Nixon was trying to be theological, yet I believe he stressed a great biblical truth. In the sight of God, the true mark of a man is his character—his being—not his accomplishments, his ideas, or his net worth.

Try these words for guidelines for living. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.  But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1‑2, KJV).

God’s perspective is certainly a different perspective from ours. We are often caught in the trap of materialism and pragmatism.  We put the emphasis on doing; God puts it on being. We put the emphasis on accomplishment; God puts it on character. Here is something to consider: What you are is far more important than what you will ever do, whether you are the president of the world’s largest bank or push a broom sweeping the streets in the smallest city. In the sight of God being is more important than doing.

Stop and view life from a different perspective, the perspective of eternity, and realize that being is more important than doing. What are you, anyway? A successful flop, worth thousands or even hundreds of thousands, or a humble laborer as the world sees you, yet a success in the eyes of God?  What would you say is the real measure of a person? His accomplishments or his character? God is still seeking men and women of character who will stand and be counted.

Resource reading: Psalm 119:1-11.

Speaker, author and Bible teacher, Dr. Harold Sala founded Guidelines in 1963. Pioneering the five-minute commentary in Christian radio, Dr. Sala’s daily “Guidelines-A Five Minute Commentary on Living” is broadcast in 49 of the 50 states and is heard the world over in a variety of languages.

Sala, who holds a Ph.D. in biblical text, has authored over 60 books published in19 languages. He speaks and teaches frequently at conferences, seminars, and churches worldwide. Residing in Mission Viejo, California, Harold and his wife, Darlene, have three adult children and eight well-loved grandchildren.

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