Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Jesus was a failure.

Well, if you look at numbers at a certain point in His life some might say that. Early in His public ministry His followers swelled to many thousands. Perhaps He was the original "mega church pastor." Then over three years many were offended or left Him for other reasons. At one point He even asked the twelve if they would also go away. And they did . . . at the time of His greatest need, they abandoned Him and ran for their lives. His "church" was down to one.

At Christmas, we certainly should be deeply grateful that He was willing to suffer all that for our redemption. And, we should learn to be careful in how and when we evaluate "success" -- for ourselves, or others.

If a business has a record profit, did it have a successful year, or could there be a failing business which is laying off workers which in God's eyes is more successful than its more profitable counterpart? Is a soccer team's success measured in the score or its win/loss record? Or, at least for Jesus' followers, is there some more important measure of a successful game or season? Is Tim Tebo a success because he has had an amazing year at quarterback with fabulous come-from-behind-victories? Would he be just as successful if they had lost all those games but he continued his outspoken Christian commitments? Is the most successful politician the one who gets the most votes and wins the most elections?

I am shamed how often I have had secret pride because I am a pastor at one of the largest churches in West Michigan and that my emotions can ride the waves of increases and decreases. On a great day like last Sunday when the services were full, the programing was exciting, and the offering was huge, I can tend to think, "That was success!" I must learn to be faithful and not measure success prematurely -- on a great day or a "bad" day. Jesus will be the Judge! He is the only one we must please!

Here's a challenging blog about numbers and other issues where we may be too quick to jump on the band wagon:

Remember big isn't better nor is small better. Being faithful to Jesus is better.

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