Faithfulness > Success

Well... Since it's 3:30am here (8:30pm @home) I figured I'd take the time to update my blog since I can't sleep. It's funny - as I was waking up an 1 1/2 hr. ago I was thinking to myself "Oh, I should write about _____ and _____ and _____!" It was a brainstorming party. Unfortunately, I didn't write any of it down and I was/am still in a fog so... yeah. What you're getting right now is raw. Friday night before I left, Ben & I went to see The King's Speech and amazingly that same movie was being shown on one of my flights on Saturday. I must tell you, it's been one of the best movies I've seen in a long while so I was thrilled to get to watch it 2 nights in a row. There are many scenes/quotes that stuck out to me, but there is one scene in particular that resonated with me.

If you haven't seen the movie, it is about King George VI who came into leadership unexpectedly when his father dies and irresponsible brother steps down from the throne. King George is an excellent leader, yet he has a speech impediment that makes it quite impossible for him to address his people. The movie follows King George and his friendship with his speech therapist Lionel Logue, as well as his efforts to make one of the most important speeches of his reign.

Throughout the movie, Lionel believes in King George and pushes him to his limits repeatedly. There is one minor scene after a conflict in their relationship when Lionel is discussing the issue with his wife, Myrtle. I've looked for the conversation online, and sadly it has not been quoted so I fear I'm going to butcher the beauty of its original form. SO... I'm not going to attempt to quote it, but the jest of it is that Lionel was discussing how great King George could be (without identifying him) and his wife gently states that perhaps he doesn't want to be great, perhaps it is Lionel who desires this rather than his pupil.

That conversation stayed with me. Then just this weekend a friend tweeted a quote by Count Zinzendorf "Preach the Gospel, die and be forgotten." How profound and anit-human nature. No one wants to be forgotten upon death. In fact, many of us fight to leave our legacy in order to be remembered. We want to be King Georges and have sweet movies made about us long after our death. Our culture strives for greatness, we hunger for it. And we want it not only for ourselves, but for our children and for our friends.

In America, success is everything. Whatever you do, don't settle for mediocrity! If you're a doctor - be the best doctor (to the glory of God of course). If you're a teacher - be the best teacher (to the glory of God of course). If you're an athlete - be the best in your sport (to the glory of God... of course!). If you're a preacher - have the largest church with the best programs (to the glory of God... duh). Yet, is it really for the glory of God or is it for the glory of man? There is nothing wrong with being successful in your specific field - I'm not anti-success. But I think it is something our culture is obsessed with almost unknowingly. We value success over faithfulness. Perhaps it is because we directly correlate the two, yet although they are sometimes connected, one does not guarantee the other.

Being the best (in my experience) takes my eyes off the goal of loving God, his Gospel, and his people, and it directs my focus towards making a name for myself.

This is something I've struggled with. Rather than being satisfied with being "my best" and not "the best" is a huge battle for me. Instead of longing to be consistent, faithful, and effective in my field - I want to be the number one. I always long for more. It isn't good enough to "settle" for average. In my mind average = laziness. This isn't true! The reality is that we all can't be the best and Christ never called us to success (by our standards)! Although we do see many great examples of leadership in the Bible (Moses, Paul, King David), we also see multiple examples of God exalting the faithful, lowly servant (Rahab, Ruth, Enoch, Noah). And the examples of great leaders we see, are example of God's greatness, not man's! God uses stuttering Moses, David the adulterer, & Paul the formerly known and feared Saul. How encouraging to know that the pressure for God "moving" isn't on my shoulders, it's on His!

I think that's one reason why I love running. I know that I will never be the best. I am never going to beat the Kenyan who finishes the whole marathon while I'm only on mile 12. (Seriously... In my first half marathon I was beat by an 80 yr. old blind woman - don't judge me, she was fast!) Running helps me develop perseverance and perspective. It is an act of worship that has forced me to recognize my tiny role in the greater race that we're running.

Perhaps I'm the only one who struggles with this... who knows. But over the past few years, God is stripping me of pride and teaching me to long for His goodness more than my greatness. I long to live a life that speaks of the Gospel, and when my last day arrives that I will die and be forgotten. But I pray that I will learn to be faithful so that the legacy of the Good News of Jesus Christ will continue in the lives that I've met during my earthly days.

Those are my jet lagged ramblings/thoughts. I pray that they will make sense in the morning when I reread this. :) hehe.

Much love to you all.

Posted on March 7, 2011 and filed under Culture, Ordinary Life, Spiritual Journey.