Pastor’s Pen: A different standard
When you think about a man at the age of 35, would you say he still has quite a bit of his life left, his life is half over, or that he is really old?
Your answer to that question is probably based on where you are in life. If you’re seventy then a 35-ear-old man has quite a few years left to impact his family, build a career and make a difference in the world. If you’re thirty-five yourself then you may think of how quickly time has gone by and how you may have very easily passed the half-way point. But if you’re merely a 5-year-old and someone tells you they are 35 then that seems very, very old. How could you still even be alive! Each one has a different standard depending on your point-of-view.
When one looks at Jesus’ life, to many it can seem unsuccessful. In three years as a preacher He gathered a following of more than 5,000 people! One day, an entire city came out to greet Him. He rode on a donkey into the city and they laid their coats and palm branches on the path He would take. They shouted “Hosanna to the Son of David!” That sounds successful.
But that same week, this great preacher took a huge congregation and cut it down to zero. In less than seven days He went from a massive following to being the most hated man in the nation. That week Jesus would be killed by the same people who had praised Him earlier. What kind of life is that? How terrible a preacher! What a failure.
But Jesus wasn’t a failure – He was a success. In the eyes of many, He messed up big time; but Jesus had a different standard. He was looking from another point-of-view. Jesus’ goal was not to please the people, though He cared about them. Jesus’ goal was to please the Father in heaven. Before His crucifixion Jesus prayed to the Father, “Not as I will, but as You will.” It didn’t matter whether others thought He was a success, Jesus desired to be successful in the eyes of the Father. That took Him to the cross where He paid the price of sin and those that become followers of Him will be able to please the Father as well.
Who do you seek to please? Others? Yourself? Or Is it the Heavenly Father? Pleasing the Father isn’t the easiest path and will not be the grandest, but pleasing Him is the only standard that really matters.