How Do You Measure Success? (A Good Friday Reflection)

(This is a continuation of the previous post: What Kind of Messiah Are You Looking For?)

The people thought the triumph was when Jesus won the “popularity contest” in Jerusalem. For them power and popularity meant victory. But Jesus knew better not to get caught up in their shallow view of success.

Sometimes life seems to be going so good. It seems that God is really blessing you; blessing what you’re doing; like you can do no wrong. You’re riding into town and it seems that everyone just loves you… And then the bottom drops out. One moment you’re having the best golf game of your life. The next moment you’re dead and being dragged all over the course. It’s hard to make sense of sometimes. Life can be oh-so-good one second and oh-so-bad the next.

It’s easy to get caught up in the good times of life – when things are going well and think that career or financial success are signs of God’s favor. We can do the same thing with church. We esteem large growing churches as the pinnacle of success and a sign of God’s favor. But we must beware of the world’s measure of success! God doesn’t measure success and victories in the same way as most people.

Church success isn’t measured by:

  • The number of people in attendance, but by the number of people being transformed by the life-changing hope of Jesus Christ.
  • How many are coming, but by how many are going.

For Jesus, victory didn’t come at the height of his popularity (top of the mountain), but at the height of hostility (bottom of the valley). Victory came not on his brightest day, but at history’s darkest moment – The moment when Jesus lost his life, but the lives of countless others were gained.

Often what we view as success may actually be a failure in God’s eyes. And what seems like a failure may be God’s biggest victory. We all love it when things are going well for us, but often it is in the dark, tragic, incomprehensible times of life that God is winning His biggest victories – in your life and in the world.

Jesus’ triumph came not in his entry to Jerusalem but in his death and resurrection.

Many times, with God, the tragedy IS the triumph.

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