Success vs. Faithfulness

“In a world where success is the measure and justification of all things the figure of Him who was sentenced and crucified remains a stranger and is at best the object of pity. The world will allow itself to be subdued only by success. It is not ideas or opinions which decide, but deeds. Success alone justifies wrongs done. . . . With a frankness and off-handedness which no other earthly power could permit itself, history appeals in its own cause to the dictum that the end justifies the means. . . . The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which take success for its standard” (Dietrich Bonhoeffer).

The world worships at the altar of success. Sadly, so do many within the Church.

We base our value on the number of seats taken on any given Sunday. Our goal is to get converts instead of investing in making disciples who will in turn make other disciples. As a result, according to something I read a long time ago, we are a million miles wide and only an inch deep. We have lots of members who don’t really know what they believe or how to defend it against false teaching.

In terms of our metrics and evaluations, Jesus would be deemed a failure. But we know that in terms of changing the world, no one had more of an impact than Jesus. You could say He was successful, but His goal all along was faithfulness to His Father. That should be our goal as well.

We should be seeking to leave a legacy of faithfulness instead of chasing success as the world defines it.

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