Success Through Failure
The single greatest story in the history of the world, was told through failure.
The goal of leadership is influence. To show others a better way. To help our organizations succeed.
Who are the most influential people that have ever lived?
Martin Luther King, Jr? Martin Luther? Ghandi? Galileo? Mao Zedong? Columbus?
The ministry of Jesus is one of the greatest stories in the history of the world. It is great not because of what he accomplished or developed or invented, but because of the degree of influence he had.
We should marvel, though, at how he gained such influence.
By most standards his ministry was a complete failure. He put his headquarters in Judea, the armpit of the Roman empire.
It started in a barn, surrounded by animals and their waste, born to a teenage mom as an illegitimate child.
His closets friends were fishermen and tax collectors, some of the least respected individuals of the time. They were poor and uneducated. They were unfaithful to him, scattering once he was arrested.
One of his 12 disciples, whom he chose personally, would eventually betray him for 30 pieces of silver.
I don’t know about you, but I hope I am worth more than that.
His ministry would end in a shameful, embarrassing, excruciating state execution, led by those that he came to save.
In our world of speaking engagements and book contracts and CEO’s and presidencies and vacation homes and luxury vehicles and four star resorts, Jesus’ efforts would be considered a complete failure.
His platform was awful.
Yet Jesus changed the world.
His success can be summed up in one word. Love.
While most of us want power and affluence, Jesus chose poverty and hunger.
While most of us seek out friends who are socially higher than us, Jesus chose those who were lower. The poor. The orphaned. The widowed. Prostitutes.
While most of us seek to improve our own conditions, Jesus gave to others, healing the sick.
While most of us love only when we have been loved first, Jesus loves even though the objects of his passion do not deserve it and have never earned it.
Even though that love is not always returned.
Jesus’s influence came by loving the unloveable.
If I were God I never would have given up my throne, my majesty, my manifestation of divinity, or my immortality for the likes of myself.
It simply does not fit in with my definition of success.
But whether or not we are successful depends on how we define it.
For Jesus it meant death on a cross.
He gave everything so that we could have life.
For me it means surrendering my life to him.
He did this not just to change the world, but to change us.
How do you define success? Are you trying to be influential through power or love?
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