Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christianity: Huge Accomplishments?

The discussion meanders around the table, sometimes bringing laughter and smiles, sometimes concern or even sorrow. At a pensive moment, someone shares, "I hope my life is counting. I hope I'm using my time the way I should to accomplish the most for God. I don't really see any huge accomplishments in my life so far..."

Ears perk; an elder, passionate for truth and reality, exclaims, "My dear young friend, your life inspires others! It's wise for us to check up on how we are using our time--I have to watch myself carefully or I'll drift into apathy and end up losing my way. I appreciate your questioning and your desire to do your best, but, 'huge accomplishments'? Please understand, it isn't about 'huge accomplishments.' It is about every tiny choice you make every day, all day long, every moment of each day. You are profoundly influencing, encouraging or discouraging every person you come in contact with by your choices. Every choice is making you into a person with a spirit which emanates from you and pushes others toward God or away from Him. As your spirit reflects more and more the spirit of Jesus, you are positively affecting others. Just knowing you are faithfully doing your duty encourages me to do mine! Thank you for being a faithful follower of Jesus. You are immensely important and accomplishing much by your faithfulness."

Aren't we all tempted to think in terms of "huge accomplishments"? Don't we all feel the force of being told "you are doing great things for God!"? But what is meant by this anyway? Are we talking about building mega-churches? Being in front of large crowds? Having a huge following? Being known for having a PHD, MD, JD or any other D? Being elected to political office or getting to play pro-sports of some sort? Are we referring to success in business or skill at something beyond the norm? Are these equivalent to accomplishing huge things in God's eyes?

(Please don't misunderstand. I do believe we should do everything we can to be sharpened tools for God's purposes, whatever they might be. But we can easily miss the point. We are not more valuable or necessarily accomplishing "huge" things because more people know us or hear us or see us doing whatever we do.)

How does God weigh what we are accomplishing? What is the message of Jesus with regard to what we accomplish? Is the little old lady who can do nothing more than pray and express her love accomplishing less than the talented group that can entertain thousands?

How does God weigh our ability to say no to temptation that just won't stop glaring us in the face or to choose to be kind when we are treated cruelly and unjustly? What takes more strength, grit, and character? What takes more sacrificial commitment to Jesus?

We are drawn to what appeals to our senses. We like the feeling of people being impressed by what we do. But if we allow ourselves to be captivated by such things, we can totally miss the things that really matter.

God, please help us to live humbly before You, doing our duty, resisting temptation, loving like You love, serving like You served. Help us stay focused on doing Your will no matter what others think or how impressed or unimpressed they are by what we 'accomplish.'

It is comforting to trust You to define "huge accomplishments," for as Jesus so beautifully exemplified, our peace, our purpose, our deepest fulfillment comes from pleasing You.