The Measure of Success

Mark 16:10 – 11 She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. When they heard that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe it.

Sign: Success & Failure

Poor Mary. Imagine how frustrated she must have been. She was telling the truth, but no one believed her! A little while later, when her friends saw Jesus for themselves, I wonder if she wanted to say, “I told you so!”

Probably not. That’s probably just me. 😉

As I read this passage, I couldn’t help but think of Ezekiel. Poor Ezekiel. God gave him a message. God even told him ahead of time that no one would listen. Still, God wanted him to go. Listen to this:

“Do not be afraid of them or their words. Do not be afraid, though briers and thorns are all around you and you live among scorpians. Do not be afraid of what they say or terrified by them, though they are a rebellious house. You must speak my words to them, whether they listen or fail to listen, for they are rebellious. But you, son of man, listen to what I say to you.” Ezekiel 2:6 – 8

Don’t you imagine Ezekiel felt frustrated when no one would listen to him? Still, he was faithful to tell others what God had laid on his heart. By the world’s standards, Ezekiel was a failure. But he was obedient. By God’s standards, he was a success.

Both Mary and Ezekiel delivered God’s truth. Both were rejected.

Hmmmmm . . .

Sometimes, I feel frustrated. I walk the line between wanting to tell everyone I know about God’s goodness. Yet, will they reject me? Like Mary, will they think I’m crazy? Like Ezekiel, will they lash out at me?

Still, I must tell. As much as I want everyone to like me, I’d rather have God’s approval than man’s.

Most of the time, anyway.

I pray that I will be bold, like Ezekiel. I pray that, like Mary, I will be so filled with the joy of the good news of Jesus Christ that I will tell everyone I meet!

And I pray that they will listen.

Dear Father, Help me to see success through your eyes, and not through the world’s standards. Help me to share Your message, whether people listen or not.


7 Responses to The Measure of Success

  1. March 17, 2009 #

    Dear Renae,
    just the other day I wrote -somewhere- about when I was out on my own, alone, and rejected that I was a Christian.
    How lost I felt. The following week was literally like hell. Living apart from the one I’d built the foundations of my life upon.
    Never more, I promised myself.
    But bringing his good news around when ever I should, have not been equally easy.
    I often feel my life witnesses against me, totally forgetting that it is not me, but the news of God it’s all about.
    From Felisol

  2. March 17, 2009 #

    Excellent points, Renae, and especially because this is so hard for me. Sometimes I laughingly refer to myself as the people-pleasin’ middle child (which I am). It is very hard for me to forget about the opinions of others, but I believe the Lord is bringing this to the top of my mind over and over, and I can see him helping me, too, to do the right thing, say the right thing… just because it pleases Him and not because of someone else’s opinion. I have a feeling this will be a lifelong lesson I will have to keep learning until it is time for heaven!

  3. March 18, 2009 #

    Hi, Felisol! You are not alone. I think we all feel that way – that our lives say something different than our words. I think we just have to keep pressing forward, doing and saying what we know is right, and asking forgiveness when we mess up. Remember Paul, who said that he does the things he doesn’t want to do, and doesn’t do the things he wants to do? (Romans 7:15 – 25.) And yet Paul was one of the greatest Christians of all time! We’ll just keep pressing on together, shall we? 🙂

    Jeanette, I’m the same way, too! I want everyone to like me. I’ve had experiences where I did what I really felt was the right thing – the thing God wanted me to do – and it wasn’t popular. But in spite of the lost sleep (why do we lose sleep when people don’t like us?) I’m glad I did the right thing. Man! I wish it were easier, though.

  4. March 18, 2009 #

    You are so right, Renae, in putting more importance on God’s approval of you than in being liked by the people that you share the good news of the gospel with. This is something that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately because I tend to shy away from telling people about Jesus. It frustrates me that I’m not more bold, but I can feel God strenghtening me. He’s given me the courage to offer prayer to strangers when in the past I wouldn’t have unless I knew they were Christians. I want so much for those that don’t know Christ to open their hearts to Him before it’s too late. I grieve for the smug people who scoff at believers and thumb their noses at God. I wish they understood that God does not want anyone to perish, and I know I have to do my part in sharing the good news of salvation.

  5. March 18, 2009 #

    Great words, Sharon. If we really care about what God cares about, we will care about the people who need Him. We’ll care enough to risk rejection.

    After all, Jesus Himself was rejected by the world. Where would we be if He had sought to be well-liked? I don’t even want to think about it.

  6. March 18, 2009 #

    Thanks for dropping by my site. Richard did do my hair in that pic. : )

  7. March 18, 2009 #

    Hi Suzanne! Hope your collarbone is much better soon!

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