I wanted to call this piece, “The Failures of Jesus”, but you probably would not have read it. Jesus was not a failure. But when we consider some of the results of Jesus’ ministry encounters I think you will agree with me that they were not exactly successes. More important, if we put ourselves into the scene most of us would chalk it up as a failure.
Matthew 19:16-26 is the story of a guy who’s success at doing life on earth prevented him from living the kingdom life. Matthew, Mark and Luke give us a composite sketch of a rich, young ruler. He came to Jesus asking for directions to eternal life. He had a list of religious achievements but knew something was missing. Jesus told him to sell everything, give the proceeds to the poor, and follow Him. The price was too high. The man parted from Jesus with a heavy heart.
When the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 19:22-23)
If we had an opportunity to share truth with someone like that and it turned out the way it did for Jesus my first reaction would be to kick myself. “Why did I say that to him?” “If only I had been more sensitive.” “I should have given him an easier option.” “I could have encouraged him in his obedience to all the other commandments.” “Oh no, perhaps I ruined him for eternity.”
If a quick decision to sign up for an easy club membership was the goal then we failed. If an affirmed and happy new friend was our target then we missed it.
Jesus was probably sad too as the man parted. But Jesus was not a failure. He gently and clearly pointed the way to the eternal kingdom life; the man chose to walk another way. For him, the price was too high.
The failures of others are not our own failures.
The goal of Bible Maturity is to promote spiritual growth and faith in God. Please share these short Bible devotions with your friends and family and pray for revival.
Well said, John: “The failures of others are not our own failures.” Sometimes we castigate ourselves b/c our numbers don’t match expectations. Then, we had better ask: Expectations for what? For whom?
In another way, that point relates to the issue of boundaries b/c their challenges, goals, speed, whatever, may reflect on us (and who’s counting?) if they’re part of our team, but so what? The goal is not for me to be top dog; any goal should be couched in “what does the Father expect/desire out of this encounter?” Does what I am doing be for the glory of God (as Bach signed at the end of his compositions)?