Thursday, June 2, 2011

Failure means nothing. Success is meaningless.


Jim Elliot didn't write this in his journal after he had gotten to the mission field. He didn't write it right before he became a martyr. He wasn't even married yet, nor did he know that he would be one day. He wrote it before he even boarded the ship to sail to Ecuador. It was in a season of waiting and quietness that he penned this excerpt...no dreams fulfilled, nothing extremely great had been accomplished.

I read this and it pierced me to the core, because for a most of my existence I have measured my life's worth by my accomplishments. My success or failure impacted me greatly. When I looked at my life, I saw what I achieved, or hoped to achieve. Now I ask myself, does what I strive to attain in this life amount to anything in eternity? Does doing something great for God in the eyes of man make for a fuller life than one lived for Christ away from the spotlight and invisible to the history books?

It never really occurred to me that God may call me to do something, and it may fail in my eyes. (If it did, it was a fleeting thought.) He may call me to speak to someone and they may not respond. He may call me to do something that is an absolute waste of time in most people’s eyes. I may never do all that is in my heart. My life may be extremely brief. There have been many men and women of God that have been called to go to foreign lands only to die before they ever reach the soil. Is that a waste, a tragedy? Or might it be part of the great plans of all-knowing and all-powerful God?

I cannot claim to know the mind of God in this matter, but I do want to live every single day in such a way that I am ready and eager to meet my Lord. I want to strive for excellence in God’s perspective, not man’s. May I simply obey, not regarding the ‘success’ or ‘failure' of what I am called to do in this life. Only Jesus, His Great Name and His Kingdom matter in eternity. The greatness of mine matters less than a leaf floating in the wind. The less I am, the greater His power in my life.

If life ends tomorrow, will it be known that I lived for things that matter eternally or for my own personal (or even religious) achievements? There is a difference. Oh, there is a vast difference between achievements and a life spent for the sake of Christ.


As I plough ahead, death may lie shortly before me. I may head into a life that is far from what I ever dreamed. Even so, it can be full simply because I have God, I know Him and I live for Him. I have set my course - it it Christ. I cannot look back and be effective for the Kingdom.

So here I go. I'm digging my feet in and heading where He leads. I'm not looking back at things that have passed. I’m not taking glances at those who are headed on a different path. I'm not going to mourn the loss of my broken dreams that will be crushed under the weigh and worthiness of the Gospel. In reality I will lose nothing and gain Christ. I will love my life because God has given it, but I will not hold it too close for His sake, for the Gospel.

Failure means nothing. Success, it is meaningless. For Jesus alone I live and for Jesus alone I will die.


17 comments:

Have Your Way said...

Totally needed to hear that. I havent been able to find a job yet and I feel like a failure, but yet I just need to know that I am being successful in the Lord even if I dont have what he has in his plan for me yet. Thank you for posting this!

Emily said...

'the less I am, the greater His power in my life.'

AMEN!
I feel so 'less' lately, but more in the worldly sense of no work, no worth, no current accomplishments to show anyone and it's necessary to have this reminder of how much it ALL doesn't matter.

In HIM and Him alone does anything matter and He's the one I want to live for, not others and their acceptance.

Chelsea girl said...

Sigh. Convicting! And yet freeing. My fiance mentioned this too me. How I focus too much on the results. I'm studying Ecclesiastes and learning similar things. Need to remember this.

A girl with a smile said...

Such a powerful reminder! Thank you

Jennifer Rod said...

beautiful put jen. thank you.

Jessica said...

What a great reminder! It's so easy to get caught up in what the world considers successful but what really matters is following Christ. Thank you for sharing this!

SavedthruLove said...

:).
This verse in Luke has reared its head a lot this year in my life. I often look back girl. I really do. I look back at my past accomplishments, weight, looks, jobs, relationships and I replay a lot of things over in my head seeing how I could have done it differently. I am always convicted when I hear this verse. I need desperately to let go of it all. The jobs, relationships, weight, experiences... All of it. Slowly God is helping me to clear out all the past gunk but I know that to seek His kingdom and fully surrender we must let go of even ourselves and I know that that is not where I am at yet. I pray for change and radical transformation though. Because our GOD is more than capable...

thank you for encouraging and reminding me of the GOD we serve and the lives we are called to live.

your a great sister of faith to have :).

♥cheche

http://savedthrulove.blogspot.com

denise* paper angels said...

wow thank you so much for this much needed reminder. it's so relieving on one hand to think that we don't have to adhere to the world's standard of success... but at the same time... God's standards are sooo much higher. but i guess the great thing is that he enables us to do what he wants us to do. thank you soo much for the great post. i love jim and elisabeth elliot and i wanna be a missionary in the future just like them :) x

Laura said...

I'm always looking to other people's lives, seeing what they have and what's different. I should be comparing myself to God and delighting in Him! Beautiful reminder, powerful and true.

Chels said...

Such an incredible reminder! Thank you for sharing... this is something I subconsciously forget so often..

annie said...

Jennifer, this is so very well said. I love that Jim Elliot quote (this is the first time I've seen it, so thank you), and I especially love that it was said/written so long before he "accomplished" anything by the world's standards. It just goes to show that what we're doing -- even in the mundane-est of tasks -- matters to Someone bigger. Thank you for putting such time and effort in sharing such wise words with your readers. They serve as a powerful reminder.

Jhen.Stark said...

So beautifully written, and such words of wisdom to our hearts! LOVE THIS! LOVE LOVE LOVE IT! And I love seeing your love story with God unfold. It is just melodious!

Jessica said...

i can relate to these feelings so much. thank you for sharing. i needed to think deeper on these issues.

Vivian said...

You are an inspiration. Rough day today but thank you for a beautiful ending. I'm more than thrilled that you found me since now I found YOU!!!

CaseyWiegand said...

this has been on my heart so much! absolutely beautiful post

Sydney said...

Exactly what I have been thinking about!

Taylor Christian said...

You are so inspiring. I love your blog!! I have been awarded the versatile blogger award and I'm passing it on to you. Pick it up at http://blondegirl34.blogspot.com/2011/06/and-yes-we-are-versatile.html

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