How often do you hear someone say that? Personally, I’ve never heard it.
I’ve certainly never said it, either. I think every human being on earth wants to be successful. Even little kids don’t want to fail.
One of my friends, a first grade teacher, was in the middle of administering a spelling test when she caught her student, Lyn, with a cheat sheet. Her first thoughts were, “A six-year-old with a cheat sheet? What is the world coming to?” She scolded Lyn and confiscated the cheat sheet. Later in the day, after writing a note to Lyn’s mother, she pulled the cheat sheet out again and examined it. Immediately, a laugh escaped her lips. Lyn had spelled all of the answers incorrectly on her cheat sheet — it wouldn’t have helped her one bit.
Funny, huh? But it really illustrated something to me. We are so desperate to succeed, but we’re using a cheat sheet with the wrong definition of the word.
We forget that worldly failure could actually be godly success.
Carefully chiseled on our cheats sheets are, “Wealth,” “Power,” and “Prestige.” According to the world’s standard, those are the keys to victory.
The Bible’s wisdom is the polar opposite of worldly wisdom:
- The world says that we should push to the front so we’ll be recognized. Jesus says “The last will be first, and the first will be last.” —Matthew 20:16
- The world says, “Carry your head high; boast of your accomplishments.” Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 5:30
- The world says, “What can I gain from you?” Jesus says, “How can I serve you?” —Luke 22:26
- The world says that the more stuff you have, the better you are. Jesus says, “But store up for yourselves treasure in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.” —Matthew 6:20
The majority of the world considered Jesus a failure. A penniless, friendless, powerless social outcast condemned to die the death of a criminal on a cross.
All the world saw was: Jesus, you FAILED.
But then, He rose from the dead — triumphing over death. Although the world considered Him a disappointment, in God’s eyes He was the greatest victor.
A.W. Tozer shares, “Our great honor lies in being just what Jesus was and is. To be accepted by those who accept Him, rejected by all who reject Him, loved by those who love Him and hated by everyone that hates Him. What greater glory could come to any man? We can afford to follow Him to failure. Faith dares to fail. The resurrection and the judgment will demonstrate before all worlds who won and who lost.” —A.W. Tozer, The Best of A.W. Tozer: Book Two