God Doesn’t Ask Us to Be Successful
A number of years ago, I went to a funeral that affected me profoundly. This story actually goes back to the last century. (I love saying that!) I was asked to lead a Bible study on Proverbs for one of the home Bible study groups at my church. I was excited. It was an opportunity to teach from my favorite book in the Bible again. I had taught Proverbs in Bible class when I was a teacher in the early 1970s.
My excitement didn’t last long, however. My edgy lessons were met with some resistance by the group. My idea was to push them to the limits of their belief, but they seemed to want something more comfortable and less challenging. My excitement turned to frustration. I felt like quitting, but I was committed to teach until summer, and I’m not a quitter.
About the time the class started, Susan, the hosts’ recently divorced sister, came to stay with them. While she was living in their home, she often attended the studies. I didn’t know her spiritual background, so I taught the class as if everyone was a Christian. She rarely spoke, so I couldn’t tell what she thought about the lessons I was teaching. I had no idea where she was spiritually.
When summer rolled around, I stepped down as the teacher because my conference speaking schedule picked up. I thought the study had been a failure. On the last night of the class, the hosts presented me with a portrait of a counselor sitting at Jesus’ feet. It was such a nice gift, but I thought they were just happy I was leaving. It turns out they were genuinely thankful that I remained faithful to the study. It seems that after a lesson on yielding our rights to God, Susan had prayed to receive the Lord as her Savior in the privacy of her bedroom. I didn’t know any of this took place until weeks after I left the study.
Not long after the study ended, Susan was told she had inoperable cancer. She was dying, but for the first time in her life she was at peace. It was her funeral that affected me deeply. While I was there, I learned she had led her two daughters and a son-on-law to the Lord before her death. And only the Lord knows how many came to Christ at her funeral.
All my life I had been striving to be a success. But there at Susan’s funeral, I was struck with the humble realization that God didn’t need me to be successful. He simply wanted me to be faithful. What I thought was a great failure was a huge success in the hands of God.
How about you? Have you discovered the value of this simple but profound truth? It could change how you look at your life, your marriage, and your family. It certainly did for me. I may never be successful in the world’s eyes, but that’s no longer my goal. My goal is to be faithful to what God has called me to do.
You just read the first section of this chapter. The complete chapter including the Reflection, Response, Scripture, and Application is one of 30 chapters from Al’s new book RECONNECT: When your kids are connected to everything but you. Find out how to order your own copy.
Al Menconi founded Al Menconi Ministries in 1982. Since that time, Al has spoken to more than a million people about entertainment and its influences. He has written numerous books and articles on the subject and provides free help for parents on his web site AlMenconi.com. Al and his wife Janice have two grown daughters and reside in Carlsbad, CA.