Wednesday, December 19, 2012

What Defines Success?

By what standards should one measure success? Is it a powerful placement in a large corporation? A strong position with the media capable of transforming societies? Or how about enough supporters to shift a movement toward the cause you lead? What about the mother teaching her child (who grows up and somehow changes the world in a significant manner)? Is achievement and importance based on money earned or generated? Is it formed by the vote of "the people"? Or popularity...celebrity status?

Jesus only had twelve followers (disciples). His ministry (as an adult) was brief. His own siblings doubted who He said He was (John 7:5). His mother believed in Him. He had no place to rest his head (Luke 9:58). He was a carpenter by trade (Mark 6:3). Though He fed 5,000, he was not popular at all. Infact, His lack of fame and acceptance by society lead to His murder when the people voiced their preference to pardon a criminal instead of Him. But Christ Jesus impacted the world in a very profound way for thousands of years and counting. (I believe He saved us all...but this particular post is not about salvation.)

Jesus said to them, "My time has not yet come, but your time is always here. The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify about it that its works are evil. (John 7:6, 7 ESV)

If I had not done among them the works that no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin, but now they have seen and hated both me and my Father. (John 15:24 ESV)

And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. (John 3:19 ESV)

Each gauges accomplishment differently. For me, it is founded in the words of Jesus when He told the parable of "The Rich Young Man".

And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: 'Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.'" And he said to him, "Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth." And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, "You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. (Mark 10:17-22 ESV)

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