Duty is mine. Results are God’s

I read an online article that claimed that Jesus was a failure.

I read an online article that claimed that Jesus was a failure. The writer, (internet nickname of Wizenedsage), referring to a passage from Matthew 10 said, “According to the Bible, Jesus’ primary mission on earth was to modify Judaism for the Jews, as their Messiah.” He maintains that Jesus failed to accomplish this.

Obviously, Mr. “wise and sage” missed numerous passages where Jesus deliberately contacted and ministered to individuals of non-Jewish extract. He also missed Jesus’ paramount and repeatedly stated motivation, which was “…to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that He wants me to do” (John 4:34).

Certainly, Jesus did not match up with the anticipations or meet the expectations of many of His day. Nevertheless, Jesus, in God’s eyes, in the biblical record and in my view was not a failure, but a great success. He did finish the work that God gave Him and expressed this verbally in John 19:31, saying, “It is finished.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer correctly stated, “The figure of the Crucified invalidates all thought which takes success for its standard.”

So Jesus was and is a success! But what about me? And you? How do we determine true success? Clearly, if our criteria for measuring success is wrapped up in the expectations of others, we will always feel like failures, for we will never please everyone.

Observing the matter from another angle, possibly the quickest and most common way to failure is by placing difficult, demanding, even impossible expectations upon ourselves. When we are open and honest about this, we may find that we are our own worst and most unforgiving critic. True success will not be achieved, nor enjoyed until we can accept and forgive our own failures.

Further, success cannot be solely measured by everything going right…and it cannot simply be the opposite of failure. Many things go wrong and often, success is the result of a series of failures. Failure presents us with an opportunity to improve and do better next time.

John Quincy Adams, sixth US President, following his presidency and seeking the abolition of slavery, served in Congress. With remarkable consistency, every bill that he presented was defeated. When he was asked how he avoided discouragement, while facing one failure after another, his response was, “Duty is mine. Results are God’s.” That is a very successful way of managing failure; especially when we consider that Adam’s desires with reference to slavery were ultimately realized and his goals achieved.  Larger horizons and longer-range thinking are required!

Most define success by numbers, dollars and kudos. God measures success by the degree that we accomplish His goals and purposes in our lives.

Pastor Ross Helgeton                       Senior Pastor – Erskine Evangelical Free Church                                                    Phone: 403 – 742 – 5020              Email: revrh@telus.net