What is success?

Earlier this year I heard several messages delivered by Jason Reed. One comment that he made was this: “You are not called to be successful, but to be faithful.”

I think he does well to emphasize the importance of faithfulness. We certainly must be faithful in accomplishing the work that God has laid out for us.

Reed’s quote has led me to realize that the only way to be truly successful is to be faithful. We cannot completely control the results of our work. For example, a dedicated preacher or missionary may see very few people turn to Christ. Does that make him unsuccessful? I suggest that it does not necessarily mean that he was unsuccessful. If he was faithful in preaching the Gospel, then he was a success. Faithfulness is the ultimate measure of success.

The Ascension

Concerning the content of a recent post, a friend of mine once commented, “I never thought of Jesus’ Ascension as part of the gospel message. Is it?”

In response to that question, I want to emphasize that I do think that the Ascension of Christ is an important part of the Gospel message.  It is through Jesus’ Ascension that he returned to the Father, which was necessary for the Holy Spirit to come (John 16:7). It is the Holy Spirit who convicts of sin (John 16:8).

The ascended Jesus now serves as our great high priest who knows what it is like to be tempted, and it is through him that we have access to the throne of grace in time of need (Hebrews 4:14-16).  The Gospel message would truly be different without the Ascension.

The Gospel in 30 Seconds

Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners.  He accomplished that through his birth, life, death, resurrection, and ascension.  In his birth, God became man.  In his life, Jesus taught us how to live.  In his death, he was the perfect sacrifice for our sins.  In his resurrection, he defeated the power of sin and Satan.  In his ascension, he sat down at God’s right hand where he makes intercession for us.  Through the work of Jesus everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Study with Diligence

“Let ministers daily pursue their studies with diligence and constantly busy themselves with them.  Moreover, let them with care and diligence beware of the infectious poison of this imagined security and conceited overestimation; rather let them steadily keep on reading, teaching, studying, pondering, and meditating.

My concern should be that others receive from me what God has taught me in Scripture, and that I strive to present this in the most attractive form, to teach the ignorant, to admonish and encourage those who have knowledge, to comfort troubled consciences, to awaken and strengthen negligent and sleepy hearts as Paul did, and as he commanded his pupils Timothy and Titus to do.  This should be my concern; how others get the truth from me.  Studying is my work—the work God wants me to do.  And if it pleases Him, He will bless it.”
(Martin Luther)

True Riches

“I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.”
(Patrick Henry)

Praise to the Creator

All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.

Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colors,
He made their tiny wings.

The purple-headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset, and the morning
That brightens up the sky.

The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one.

The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day.

He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.

(Cecil Frances Alexander)