Weekly Thought – June 2, 2020
Fred’s articles in Leadership Journal helped thousands. Each year we receive messages referencing writings from the late 80s and 90s. His clear approach to issues made these articles particularly helpful. In the summer/88 edition he addressed success, focusing on the challenging aspect of permission. These excerpts continue to offer timeless principles 32 years later.
You May Succeed
Recently I was talking with a minister who had just returned from a missions trip.
“What did you accomplish?”
“Well, the most important thing I did with the small churches in difficult situations was give them permission to succeed.”
That was an interesting thought. He must have sensed they saw themselves as losers. They went thinking their ministry was supposed to be tough, and nothing more than meager results would be the outcome. He saw this and helped them raise their sights to see opportunities they had missed.
His remark reminded me of a story about a gifted golfer on the LPGA. This Christian athlete possessed enormous talent but couldn’t put up wins. In frustration, she went to a Christian counselor who uncovered she subconsciously didn’t think of Christians as winners. Raised in a strict home and taught Christians were to be passive, and accept loss with grace, she became a volunteer martyr As a result she wasn’t free to win.
Here are three reasons Christians are afraid to succeed:
1) An incorrect concept of God: Last year while speaking at a seminary a young man approached me, opening the conversation with this: “God has me just where He wants me.” “Where is that?” “Broke!” This is a faulty view of God.
2) An incorrect concept of how God works: When we depend on God to constantly provide through miracles, we misunderstand Him. God is the one who brought cause and effect into being, so usually right results come from right actions.
3) A hesitancy to accept plaudits for abilities: Before speaking at a meeting of a very strict denomination, a young woman sang beautifully. Afterward I said, “You have a lovely voice.” She hung her head and said, “Don’t give me the glory. Give the glory to the Lord.” “My dear, I simply gave you a compliment from somebody who tried to sing and was not able to, and yet who recognizes that you can. Since I believe you have nothing except what you’ve received, any comments I make after that are within the scope of giving God glory.”
The issue, at its heart, is accepting a worm theology. Those who are most comfortable losing readily picture themselves not as children of a great God, but as worms. He doesn’t see us that way. As believers He sees us in Christ. He made us from the dust, but didn’t intend for us to live there. As Christian leaders we have the good news that can break barriers and give people the freedom to enjoy success achieved with integrity.
This week carefully consider: 1) What makes me afraid to succeed? 2) Who needs to hear these words? 3) How can I strengthen the view of myself as a Christian and child of God?
Words of Wisdom: “God is the one who brought cause and effect into being, so usually right results come from right actions.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Therefore, be imitators of God as dearly loved children.” (Ephesians 5:1 NET Bible)