Thought For The Week – 4th July

 Success?

What do you see as you look back over the months of pandemic, lockdowns, Tiers, social distancing and restrictions to church attendance and collective worship? Have you survived or thrived? If you were to judge yourself what criteria spring to mind?

Mother Theresa said “I’m not called to be successful but to be faithful” – is that what you believe too?

It’s all too easy to focus on the “not having to be successful” bit to defend taking our foot off the pedal and slowing down as a Christian. Tragically so often used to defend not doing things or accepting the status quo of inaction.

Part of the problem is that success is often “in the eye of the beholder” ie what we or others think. Usually, this view drags us to a worldly view. We compare ourselves to our standards or those of friends and family. Even preachers and church leaders can fall into the trap of focusing too much on numbers of their fellowship, or followers on Facebook, or views on YouTube, or gaining the next step of recognition.

Focusing on the other part of Mother Theresa’s comment is much more difficult but also much more important. I can’t see anywhere that Jesus says our prime aim should be to strive for success. Jesus always emphasises getting our hearts and attitudes right – our faithfulness as THE priority in life. Being faithful in a Christ-like life earns us the reward of being a faithful servant (Matthew 25:21) which may or may not have yielded success in a worldly sense. In the parable of the talents it wasn’t the monetary gain that was praised but the servants’ faithfulness.

The pandemic may have made us refocus our priorities, perhaps having to adjust to new circumstances to examine what we really need to grow closer, or stay connected, to Jesus. We may miss an awful lot of the comfortable things that made up our life but there’s only one question that is of any real significance – “Have I been faithful to God?”

Don’t focus on the times you’ve let God down or think you’ve disappointed Him (our failures and successes). Like a good parent if we turn to Him (are faithful), He dusts us down, picks us up and helps us on our way again. This is what we celebrate.

Verse for Today – “Praise be to the Lord, to God our Saviour, who daily bears our burdens.” Psalms 68:19 NIVUK

Don Brennan

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