Category Archives: Victory

Victory – not worth the price paid to win

After the battle at Bunker-Breeds Hill in Boston, June 17, 1775, when Patriots thought they lost, the British knew their victory cost more than the advantage gained.  Another victory like that would ruin Great Britain, they said.  The British historian George Trevelyan wrote that England had never invested so much to gain so little in return.

When subordinates brought General Lee news of the roaring Confederate success of Chancellorsville, May, 1863, they also brought news of General Jackson’s wounds that removed him from leadership.  Lee responded it was a victory too expensively achieved.  With My Face to the Enemy, 215.

To gain Antwerp, and divide Allied armies, Hitler invested 200,000 troops, and tanks and fuel he couldn’t afford to win the Battle of the Bulge, December, 1944.  While terribly expensive in American lives, the attack failed.  The Germans never reached the Meuse River, let alone Antwerp.  The effort cost Germany so much in men and materiel—100,000 men, 800 tanks and 1,000 planes—it guaranteed Russian success in the Spring offense, 1945, at little cost to them.  Encyclopedia of WWII, 91

After WWII, the Allies sold to Thailand the Bridge over the River Kwai.  Each surviving POW received $280 per man.  But its construction had taken 26,000 POW lives—and 50,000, maybe 100,000 Asian lives—who received nothing.  A & E, Kwai Railroad, 3/5/93.

Some victories cost more than they’re worth.  Some defeats are victories in disguise.  Speaking of which—the death of Jesus plunged his believers into bottomless despair while the Jewish leadership soared to ecstasy.  But that was on Friday.  When Sunday came, the story changed, for that day, for every day in history, and for forever after.  Let’s God’s people always look to Resurrection Sunday when we face circumstances seemingly destined to destroy us.

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Victory – that’s worthwhile

We’re success-oriented people.  We’re told to “compete, overcome, succeed.  Never give up. Climb to the top.  Be the best.”

This is all admirable, if we continue to recognize and respect the rights of others.  The desire to master a subject or project is God-given.  And God won’t take it away.  But he does challenge us to channel that competitive spirit towards worthy goals.  So that our victory will be in the greatest and most lasting areas of life.

Think for a moment.  Isn’t our greatest victory the conquest of self?  Or our greatest joy, forgiveness?  Isn’t our greatest honor the privilege of serving others?  And our greatest beauty a sweet spirit?  What greater talent is there than communicating understanding and love to all?  And what is our greatest frontier, if it isn’t the undeveloped spiritual dimensions in the human mind?

Our greatest poverty is a proud spirit.  Our greatest mistake is trying to impress God.  Our greatest decision is to surrender our life to him.  Our greatest riches is to be reconciled to God through Christ.  And our greatest possession is faith in a Risen Lord.

Succeed all you want.  Strive for excellence.  Commit yourself to its pursuit.  But be very sure that you succeed in an enterprise that cannot fail.  Otherwise, all your success will be a mockery.  God’s cause never fails and has already succeeded.  Why not be a shareholder in a victory already won?