Success is Character

charectorMatt. 6: 19-20

19 ¶ Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

My best laid plans have been continually over thrown by life and chance. At the end of it all I can confuse my self by looking over my shoulder searching for proofs of successes. On one look there is nothing over my shoulder but rubble and wrecked plans. And on another look what is back over my shoulder are events and experiences that make me who I am today. Either way I find my self wondering to myself, what good is it to work towards a goal, when success is determined (as it seems in my life) more by chance then by effort or desire.

If I were an experiment being documented by outside observers my life would look something like this. Here we have a … lets say.. stick? Will this stick be a success the experimenters might wonder. “We don’t know”, is the conclusion, “lets put it to the test.” What do the experimenters wish to see come of the stick? Maybe a tree, lets say a tree. The stick (me) is placed in the controlled environment (or rather uncontrolled environment; of the world) in order to “prove it”. Periodically the sticks “home” is invaded by the observers. They pull out their magnifying glasses, test kits, and charts. “What can we measure here?” the observers ask themselves. They test and probe, chart and research. In the end they see little to no change. The stick was not “proven” a success during that last study, “we must put it back in the controlled environment again to see if it is “proven” in the next study,” the observers conclude. On and on the experiment goes with still little changing on the exterior of the stick, and over time the stick is labeled with the other “unproven” sticks while not much worth or value is placed on it in the mean time. From the outside this is a very simple cut and dry experiment. But what is this like for the stick.

If the observers had thought to examine the ground around the stick for evidences of failed successes, or to video record the stick, the ground and time laps photography would reveal that what seemed like an unchanging stick had actually gone through many dynamic changes, though the successful results were not there to prove it at the end of each study. Come lets watch the time laps together so that you may get to know this stick a little better.

See the buds the stick is sprouting, see all the promise those buds hold. Alas, the frost has come in and killed the buds, and the ground around the stick is left with the evidence of their short lived success.

See now this time, new buds that grew to leaves. Alas that season is gone time has taken the leaves, turned them beautifully golden, and blown them to the ground.

See here not only has the buds grown leaves, but the leaves have grown to branches. Now a child in the neighborhood comes and attempts to swing on the branch before it is strong enough, dropping the forlorn twig as evidence at the base of the stick.

On and on the stick endures through the seasons and studies until the stick is not only growing branches but bearing fruit in one season. The fruit is all eaten, the seeds scattered further down the road to grow more sticks, and the branches cut off and burned for fire wood. Thus at the end of the study or at the end of the season the stick remains seemingly unchanged.

What is unseen by the observers is the biological energy the stick has invested into its own “proving” or “success”. Also unseen is the many benefits the stick has given to the surrounding neighborhood, because the evidence was used up when the benefit recognised. Also unseen is the sticks great desire to be “proven” to be a “success”. What else is unseen is the sticks great sorrow in having no proof left of its efforts, or physical evidence of its achievements. So the observers walk away shaking their heads, and mumbling to themselves about the disappointment they feel in the stick being “unproven” or “unsuccessful”.

Left behind is a loan seemingly unchanged stick, crying out inside, for someone to measure him differently, so his true nature could be understood.

What is left for this stick to conclude? It desires greatly to be “proven” to be a “success”….. But that his success must be measured in terms of character, and not in terms of outside evidence, proof, or treasures.

Jeanine

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