Friday, April 1, 2011

Success! by who's standards?

Was your last Sunday morning service a success?  How about your Sunday School class?  How about Wednesday night?  

"What do you mean by success?"   Well, you tell me.  When you read "success" what was the 1st thing that popped in your head?  What was the benchmark that you thought of by which to judge said success?  

Honestly, you thought of something - what was it?  If we're honest, most all of us, most all of the time, immediately have our brains jump to some human benchmark that is the socially accepted litmus test for success - all churches have them.
Was it how many people you had on your attendance sheet, the +/- from last week or this week last year?  Was it how many people came forward for prayer after the service, or how many baptisms we had?  Was it our budget line or how many volunteers came out, or how many people filled out a commitment card?

Don't get me wrong, I do these things.  I get wrapped up in numbers, growth in attendance, etc.  But how silly, and almost embarrassing, are all those things as we read them?

God doesn't care.  Our thoughts are not His thoughts, our plans are not His plans.  Many are the plans in a mans heart, but it is God's ideas that prevail.  
Next time you find yourself disheartened by the attendance at your particular event, rest assured that the people God wanted there, are there.  If you are the Only one who shows up (I've been there...), then consider what God is trying to say to You in that circumstance (because then You are the person that God wanted there, at that spot, at that time).  We do not often see the fruits of our labor, but we don't do the labor for the fruits do we!?  We are called to further God's kingdom, not our own - to focus on His agenda, not ours.

Success is judged by God's standards, not ours. What we deem as failure by our spreadsheets, and attendance records, and bottom lines, God exalts as great success for His Kingdom. 
Never underestimate the distance God will go through to reach_just_one.

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