Someone asked me if I like fishing. My response was, and is, “no, I like catching.” Catching the fish is the goal, and so achieving it sooner than later is my desire! I don’t care for shopping; but I do enjoy buying stuff!
Early in my marriage, I discovered the difference between shopping and buying! Faith helped me discover that even though milk, eggs, and bread are the only things on the list…one needs to visit the jewelry counter.
Fishing vs. catching. Shopping vs. buying.
One activity is a journey, and the other is a destination. We call the destination success.
We are consumed with success. There is no discipline, job, or lifestyle that is exempt from our goal to be successful. We even give awards to people for being humble and self-denying. Often, we can’t even give without having some sort of nic-nac for giving, or a gimmick.
I’m going to sound contradictory here. I believe in having goals. I believe in personal achievement. Here’s the balance; if we can’t find joy in the journey, then the destination can be disappointing.
Faith and I are newer residents of California. We’ve heard all about the Golden Gate Bridge. Its iconic. Its on calendars, postcards, websites, and one of those things one thinks about when California comes to mind. To all of my California friends, Faith and I were disappointed when we saw it. The build up was incredible. The destination was so-so.
Jesus did not teach us to be successful; especially in the eyes of the world. At the end of it all, the reward is not according to our success, but to our faithfulness.
“Well done, good and faithful servant.” The words we long to hear!
Author Tim Hansel wrote years ago that “well done” brings up the imagery of a cooked steak! When we have enjoyed the journey, we leave nothing on the table. When we enjoy the journey, we are “well done” – all of our life poured out.
Dogs enjoy the journey. Do you have one? “Wanna go for a ride?” Doggy runs to the car, hops in, and sticks his tongue out the window all the way. Who cares where we’re headed? I’m enjoying the journey!
The lure of success and the lust for it can obscure the journey. If we are minded to being faithful, we won’t be in a hurry. We can be more tortoise than hare.
Bob Dylan was asked about being successful one time. Dylan said that suc-cess was made of two syllables; neither of which is good! Michael W. Smith, a multi Dove award winner, said that “it gets old.”
Solomon was king during a time that silver was as common as sand. He had a world wide following. He had more wives and concubines than one can make sense of. Yet he wrote these words, “vanity…all is vanity.”
Think again of the words of our savior. Matthew 25 is the context. The parable is about the Kingdom, and three servants mentioned. Jesus says that the owner divided talents, (silver, in this case), “according to their abilities,” (verse 15).
Not everyone received the same amount.
No method of use was mentioned.
The ones with the entrusted abilities began with nothing.
The owner didn’t make them owners of the silver. He made them stewards of the silver.
One of our challenges in the lure and lust of success is that we possess the false notion that everyone should have an equal share. Most of the time, we mean “money” when we think this way. Let’s think this through for a moment; “everyone gets an equal share.” This would mean that everyone on the planet would be the same height, weight, gender, skin color, mental capacity, and physical ability.
In other words, robots.
What a boring world that would be!
It is a dangerous, faulty, and disappointing notion for sameness to be our life’s ambition. If we’re honest, superiority, not equality is our goal.
The parable calls the servants to account. We shared this scripture at our church recently; 2 Corinthians 2:10. Here it is in the Amplified Bible: “for we (believers will be called to account and) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be repaid for what has been done in the body, whether good or bad, (that is, each will be held responsible for his actions, purposes, goals, motives – the use or misuse of this time, opportunities and abilities).
Simple put, my goal in life is not be successful, but to be faithful. Faithful is not a consolation prize word; it is to be full of faith. Every motive, every investment, every action should be moved by faith. That is the measure of my stewardship.
Think of the size of your family. Did you grow up in a large family, medium family, or small family? Is a family with twelve children better than a family with one… or none? Of course not. Families of every kind are called to be faithful in what they do in life.
The lure and lust for success isn’t an adequate measure in the first place. James says that we must check our motives. “If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works wit the humility that comes from wisdom…jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom.” James 3:13-15 NLT
When the owner in the parable calls the servants to account, he calls the servant with one “wicked and lazy,” not because he only had one…but because he wasn’t full of faith in the use of what he was given. He didn’t enjoy the journey, as a matter of truth, he didn’t even begin the journey.
What can I do today to begin to enjoy the journey?