"Success has many mothers; failure is an orphan."
- Folk proverb
People line up to take credit for success. No one wants failure on their resume. It is a remarkable person who takes responsibility for failure. And when success comes, the remarkable person gives the credit to others. And no one knows how successful they really are. And "blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth."
"I can't remember a farmer who was ever in a hurry. Farmers characteristically work hard, but there is too much work to do to be in a hurry."
- Eugene Peterson
Are you a blur of activity, a hurried mess? Do your friends to think, "He's/she's too busy for me"? Do you want your children to eulogize at your funeral, "Yes, he was always working"? Or, "She was always on her phone."
You are not the axis on which the world turns. Your "hurry, worry, and flurry" is a sin. You think too much of yourself. Yes, you have work to do. And it will get done. But God can get on without you if he wants. Count it a blessing that he invites you into his work at all.
Now get off the computer and go for a walk.
"I touch the future. I teach."
Christa McAuliffe, the teacher who lost her life in the ill-fated launch of the space shuttle Challenger
Who has invested in you? Who has God placed in your life to form you into the person you are today? Who are you investing in? Who are you teaching and influencing? Who is your future? Who will one day say, "God used . . . to make me who I am today."
Deuteronomy 6:4-9; I Timothy 1:1; II Timothy 2:1-2
"Uncle Sam is a friendly old man, but he has a spine of steel."
- President Ronald Reagan describing the American character to the Soviets.
The perception exists in our society that Christians are just (or should be) really nice people. They are the Ned Flanders, the nice guys, the "friendly old man." As much as there should be a friendliness to Christians, there is also a steel spine. A "Jesus-turning-tables-in-the-temple" steel spine. Or like Paul who braved shipwrecks, torture, and poverty in order to take the gospel worldwide. Faith takes guts. Responding to Jesus' words, "Follow me" is risky. Our compassion is accompanied by courage, and our service by strength.
"You can pick your friends. You can pick your nose. But you can't pick your friend's nose."
- Robert Prahl
My father-in-law occasionally says this, although it's not unique to him. Essentially, there are limits to what we can do. We can love, serve, and influence others. But we cannot change them, or save them, or manipulate their behavior. This is a convicting thought, especially when you realize that you are imposing yourself on another. And it's a freeing thought, because it means that you don't have to change them. It allows you to rest in the transforming power of the One who made all friendships and all noses.
"Your strongest are serving and your weakest are prized."
- An Anonymous Mentor on the the sign of a healthy congregation