Friday, February 15, 2013

Successful People

What is the measure of success? Is it how much money you have in the bank? Is it whether or not you go to work in a 3 piece suit carrying a briefcase? Or is success measured by how 'happy' you are at any particular time? How do you measure success? 

I recently read a quote which said: "Successful people invest in themselves! Are you making the investment?". What do you think of a quote like that? What was the first thought you had when you read it? Were you just a little unsettled in your spirit? I was. On one hand I can agree with it because I know that we should always be trying to better ourselves. We should be constantly learning and applying that knowledge to our lives and become better people for it. 

But its not so much 'what' we should do as it is 'why' we should do it. When I read that quote I felt like it was just another propaganda message from a 'me' generation. Why should we invest in ourselves? For what purpose? Did Jesus invest in Himself? Actually He did when He took Himself away to pray. After ministering to crowds of people, He was weary and went away by Himself to pray and become refreshed. But why did He do that? So that He could minister again. You see Jesus did invest in Himself but only so that He could invest in others. 

There's lots of talk out there for people to become leaders. Leaders in industry, in business. Leadership is touted as being our ultimate goal, but I don't believe those who are promoting leadership are actually talking about servant leadership. Christ was a servant leader. He lead by example and served others. He saw to their needs before He saw to His own. As His followers are we not to do the same? 

In John chapter 13 " Before the Passover celebration, Jesus knew that his hour had come to leave this world and return to his Father... It was time for supper... So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”“No,” Peter protested, “you will never ever wash my feet!”Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t belong to me.”Simon Peter exclaimed, “Then wash my hands and head as well, Lord, not just my feet!”10 Jesus replied, “A person who has bathed all over does not need to wash, except for the feet, to be entirely clean. And you disciples are clean, but not all of you.” 11 For Jesus knew who would betray him. 

12 After washing their feet, he put on his robe again and sat down and asked, “Do you understand what I was doing? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you are right, because that’s what I am.14 And since I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you ought to wash each other’s feet.15 I have given you an example to follow. Do as I have done to you."

Peter was uncomfortable with Jesus, the leader, assuming the role of servant. But Jesus wanted to show Peter and all of us what true leadership actually is: serving others. I don't think anyone would argue that Jesus wasn't a leader. He was. But His ideas of leadership are in direct opposition to this world's ideas of what leadership is; what success is. Jesus was a success and we need to follow His example. 

There are lots of books and studies and public speakers who you can listen to on how to become a successful person. But none of them can replace the example which Jesus, Himself, gave us to follow. That's why a quote like this one unsettles our spirit, because it doesn't line up with what Jesus taught us by example. The greatest Teacher of all time, the greatest Lord, was a  successful person because He lead others to the Father. This should be our ultimate goal, not amassing great wealth or prestige but by serving others and leading them to God. 

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