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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Mission Accomplished

Feeling as if we have accomplished something gives us a sense of worth. If we are to see ourselves as successful, we look at our accomplishments. Moreover, it is what others use to measure the success of our lives, even within the Christian community. 

Successful preachers, musicians, singers, evangelists, are those who have a following.  A plethora of methods exist to make a name for ourselves in the world. 

This desire to be seen and heard and known can catch us off guard. It is often intrinsically mixed with the motive of the one who is given a gift and simply wants to share it. 

The seemingly endless mission of gathering pollen...
We should buy advertising, perform concerts, practice for hours every day because we are good stewards and we want to be successful. We want the crowd to notice us, because we think we are bringing honor to God with our gift if we are “successful.” 

Is the race we are to run against others competing for the same market share of heaven?

The race Paul wrote about in Philippians is one in which everyone is expected to compete and to win: “But I do concentrate on this: I leave the past behind and with hands outstretched to whatever lies ahead I go straight for the goal—my reward the honor of being called by God in Christ” (Philippians 3:14, J.B. Phillips).

Many translations suggest that the race is making it to heaven. But I am inclined to think that this ‘upward call’ as others translate it, is the call we sense deep within us to keep going, to get up, and get over, and go on. Answering it is yielding to the Spirit of Christ (the Anointed One) within us and following His leading whether we ever accomplish our idea of success or not.

Oswald Chambers wrote about Moses’ certainty of his calling to deliver the Israelites out of bondage. His attempt was a total failure that spewed him out into the wilderness to be trained and disciplined by communion with God. For forty years. He was 80 before God called him to do the job he had long since realized he could not do. Chambers himself, as well known and read as he is today, did not live to see the publication of his best-known book, My Utmost for His Highest

There are many others whose lives would be considered failures by our standards of success, and this includes Jesus himself. The twelve guys he was closest to deserted him in the end. 

In The Hour That Changes the World, Dick Eastman notes that a casual observation of the life of 18th century missionary, David Brainerd would lead us to conclude his short life was a failure. After four years of ministry to the Native Americans, he had seen only 40 or 50 souls converted, but after his death at 29 years of age, his journal continued to live and reach the hearts of men like Andrew Murray, Jonathan Edwards, John Wesley, and William Carey.

We may not be famous in this world, but we’re not playing to the world and our sense of worth should not depend on the world’s view of success, or even what we have come to believe is the Christian ideal of success. Those who are really successful are the ones who continue, day by day, doing what they know is right, whether anyone here on earth ever notices, or not.

Matthew 6:1 “Watch out! Don't do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven.” New Living Translation.

2 Corinthians 10:18 “When people commend themselves, it doesn't count for much. The important thing is for the Lord to commend them.” New Living Translation.

John 12:43 “For they loved the glory that comes from men rather than the glory that comes from God.” Weymouth.

2 Timothy 4:7 “I have fought an excellent fight; I have finished my race and I have kept my faith.”

Aramaic Bible in Plain English

Excerpt from:
While it is Called Today - a 30-day photo devotional for living well 
by Dee Marvin Emeigh

(c) 2014 Dee Marvin Emeigh
all rights reserved

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