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Real Success Is Always Attainable

Success Discouragement Submission

Source: Stories To Touch The Heart by Russ Lawson, p. 65

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2021-10-01

Scripture: 1 Corinthians 3:8

Author: Mother Teresa / Illustration Exchange


"No, I do not become discouraged.  You see, God has not called me to a ministry of success. He has called me to a ministry of mercy."

- Mother Teresa


Mother Teresa possessed a clear understanding of God's priority versus the world's priorities.  She understood that real success is doing God's will. As a result, she was protected from two tragic errors: First, she avoided the temptation to waste her life on things that don't really matter. Second, she avoided the discouragement that comes from failing to experience the world's idea of success.

One of the wonderful things about living for God is that when we seek His will, we seek something that is always completely attainable.

Mother Teresa might have had cause to become discouraged if she had allowed the world to define success for her.  But, since she left that to God, success was always within her reach.  

"The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God's service; you are God's field, God's building" (1 Corinthians 3:8-9).

Illustration Exchange

Win or Lose

Success Christlikeness Selfless


Contributed By: Charles Schuyler | Date Posted: 2020-02-01

Scripture: Philippians 2:3 ; Philippians 2:5

Author: Carlos Arribas


On December 2, 2012, Spanish athlete Iván Fernández Anaya was competing in a cross-country race in Burlada, Navarre. He was running second, some distance behind race leader Abel Mutai – bronze medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the London Olympics. As they entered the finishing straight, he saw the Kenyan runner – the certain winner of the race – mistakenly pull up about 10 meters before the finish, thinking he had already crossed the line.

Fernández Anaya quickly caught up with him, but instead of exploiting Mutai’s mistake to speed past and claim an unlikely victory, he stayed behind and, using gestures, guided the Kenyan to the line and let him cross first.

“I didn’t deserve to win it,” says 24-year-old Fernández Anaya. “I did what I had to do. He was the rightful winner. He created a gap that I couldn’t have closed if he hadn’t made a mistake. As soon as I saw he was stopping, I knew I wasn’t going to pass him.”

Fernández Anaya is coached in Vitoria by former Spanish distance runner Martín Fiz in the same place, the Prado Park, where he clocked up kilometers and kilometers of training to become a European marathon champion in 1994 and world marathon champion in 1995.

“It was a very good gesture of honesty,” says Fiz. “A gesture of the kind that isn’t made anymore. Or rather, of the kind that has never been made. A gesture that I myself wouldn’t have made. I certainly would have taken advantage of it to win.”


There are many in this world that have the same perspective as Martin Fiz.  They believe the only way to win in life is to be out in front, ahead of those around you.  Yet, our Lord, when He was on this earth, taught the exact opposite.  He told us things like - the way up is down, the way to the first chair is to take the last chair, the way to live is to die… the way to win is to be willing to lose for others. 

Paul took that example and with inspiration wrote the following in Philippians 2: 3-5: "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves.  Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."

Winning in this world is climbing up the ladder of success.  But as you are going up, never forget that our Savior found victory by coming down.  

A Lesson In Stacking Priorities

Priorities Love for God Success

Contributed By: Jason Sommerfeldt | Date Posted: 2017-10-07

Scripture: Matthew 22:37 ; Matthew 6:33

Author: Jason Sommerfeldt


Video games have been entertaining people for well over 35 years, and though there have been countless titles, there are only a handful that have left a lasting impression on the world. Some games, like Pac-Man and Super Mario Bros., have had great influence on several generations, but there is one game that stands out as a fun and immersive experience, and that is Tetris.

The way the game works is simple, the player is fed variants of four blocks, which must be arranged in rows.  When enough of them are lined up, they disappear. This opens up more space for more blocks to be stacked. As the game progresses, the blocks start dropping faster, making the game more challenging. 


Hey, Tetris is fun, but for me, there is more to this game that just stacking pixels and trying not to allow them to stack up too high on the board. This game is a lesson on life because life is full of stacking. In fact, a huge part of life is learning how to stack responsibilities and priorities, knowing that once you eliminate one set, a new set will take its place shortly.  Being a young man juggling work, a mortgage, two kids, a spouse, school, housework, and daily tasks, learning the art of stacking has never been more important in my life. 

God is no stranger to the fact that life is a stacking game. In fact, He gives His children a set of priorities to follow. First, He lets His children know what is most important in the stack. When questioned by the Pharisees about which is the greatest commandment, Jesus simply replied: “To love the Lord your God with all of your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your mind” (Matthew 22:37). Right here, Jesus tells us how to stack our priorities. He doesn’t end there though, He also adds that the second greatest command is to “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). The main priority of this game we call life is a fervent love for God, followed by a fervent love for others.

If you find yourself playing a game of Tetris, take a few moments to look at how you are stacking things in your own life. As the blocks of responsibility and opportunity fall into your lap, how are you placing them in your life? As easy as it is, we have to stay away from making life all about entertainment, because the truth is that life is not all about entertainment; if that were the case God would have sent us an entertainer and not a Savior. Place God as your foundation, others as the next immediate priority, and your life will be stacked for real success.  

"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). 

Success Quotes

Success Quotes Success Failure

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2016-05-27

Author: Various

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I May Be Small, But God Is Backing Me Up

Power Success Boldness

Contributed By: Roger Teal | Date Posted: 2016-02-14

Scripture: Judges 6:12 ; 2 Corinthians 12:10

Author: Roger Teal

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Better Lucky Than Good

Wisdom Risk Success

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-10-07

Scripture: Proverbs 3:13

Author: Illustration Exchange

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A Direct Reflection of Your Parenting

Fatherhood Character Success

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-18

Scripture: Proverbs 22:6

Author: Proactive Coaching / Illustration Exchange

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The One Percent Improvement Plan

Success Discipline (Self) Spiritual Growth

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-07-08

Scripture: Luke 16:20 ; Luke 19:17

Author: James Clear / Illustration Exchange

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"Failure" Leads To Success

Motivation Perspective Success

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2014-05-24

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 12:10

Author: Steve Chandler

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Who's the Most Important?

Friendship Encouragement Success

Contributed By: John Rollyson | Date Posted: 2014-03-29

Scripture: John 15:15

Author: Max Lucado

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