I love bushwalking. Occasionally, I like to try a new trail or to go off the beaten track.
A few weeks back, a stranger mentioned a trail that followed a creek and after one hour, I should reach a secluded and beautiful waterfall. The trail is not on the standard maps, so hardly anyone goes there. I did not have his paid App on my phone, but why not? The solitary walk sounded good. As long as I followed the creek, I would not get lost and could always find my way back. The last time I used this rationale, I got lost at the Golan Heights, Israel. I survived, but that’s another story.
The man did not mention that some sections were overgrown. Easy to miss a turn or two. I had to bush-bash. Glad I wore jeans instead of shorts. A sharp branch jumped out at me, so now I have a genuine pair of torn jeans. Repeatedly, I walked through spider webs, but at least no leeches.
Astounding, how much I was willing to trust a stranger!
How about you? Have you trusted a stranger? How did it turn out?
What does this have to do with Redefining Success according to Jesus?
- Who are you trusting to guide you through life?
- What motivated you to give them the power to influence you and to define success for you?
- Are they trustworthy? What are their character and credentials?
Insights expressed by participants on the Redefining Success according to Jesus study:
I felt discouraged and ashamed. At the root, I was measuring myself against others’ faulty definitions of success. That’s the default narrative that plays in my mind. 😔
With good intention we call Jesus Lord, yet in practice, we still empower others to be the influencers and definers of success in our lives – more than Jesus.
Many Christians say they follow Jesus. But we may be unaware when we pay more attention to the voices of significant others, parents, children, influencers, celebrities, friends, ‘the world’. We make them our guides more than Jesus. Too often, our influencers and guides, like religious leaders in the days of Jesus, are also blind to their harmful definitions of success. Worse, some religious institutions and leaders might be feeding our greed and self-absorption.
Read about the blind spots in all of us, including the religious leaders, in my chapter ‘Our Blind Spots and Blind Guides’.
Tragically, most who seek to guide us, the so-called successful ones, the powerful and policymakers, the influencers and religious leaders, are also infected by worldly success and greed. Who then, can help? There is one person who is perfect in every way and was not tarnished by worldly success while He lived on earth. He sees all — through our facade and pretence – into our hearts. He has spoken. He wants to connect with us and help us. (p. 55)
Connect with the real Jesus of the Bible. Listen to Him as your ultimate guide and influencer. Adopt and practice His definition of success to avoid harm and experience peace, contentment, courage and purpose.
See you next month when we’ll look at the real Jesus of the Bible,
Please check out the video on Redefining Success in Ministry – according to Jesus
It might be helpful to your minister or pastor.
Most Christian ministers and leaders face formidable challenges to their well-being and ministry effectiveness.
First, they might be exhausted and overwhelmed by their members’ needs and expectations and the constantly changing ministry landscape. They often feel they are never good enough. They suffer from harmful definitions of success.
Second, they cannot get enough help because their church members are similarly exhausted and overwhelmed. They are working long hours to pay off their mortgage and overspending to maintain the appearance of success. Perhaps, greed is the blind spot of our discipleship.
But we don’t have to live this way. We can connect with the real Jesus of the Bible, refute worldly success and redefine success according to Jesus.