Fail Big

I love that Paul, the witness to the Gentiles (that’s us), could easily be considered a failure—at least by our standards. How often he trudged into a city, laid out the message of the cross, and then got kicked out or chased away. Never rich, never featured in Rome Today magazine, never more than a stone’s throw from death.

But what a spectacular failure. God used this man’s frustrations to tear up the world.

I too often measure success in terms of how far I’ve come or how big of an impact I’ve had. But that’s not how God’s Kingdom works. It starts out like a seed—a dead, lifeless thing that falls into the ground and gets covered up. From there, great things sprout up.

When Jesus described the Kingdom, He used simple imagery. The small things in life, the things you can touch in your heartbreak, pain, and defeat. It’s a place for the poor, the persecuted, the childlike. This Kingdom flips our version of success over and spanks it for good measure.

Fail big—if it means that no one can mistake the results as something you could have done alone. Fail often—if it means pointing people to the cross and the God who never stops watching for them to return. Fail hard—if it means being free from this world’s measures of success.

After all, the Kingdom is worth it.

I’m Glad It’s Not Fair

In America, rousing a crowd to action often means pointing to inequality or a suppression of rights. We love our justice for all. And to be sure, many such problems deserve our attention as Christians. We should take up the cause of those who can’t fight for themselves.

But it’s really a sandy foundation.

By its very nature, following Jesus is about giving up our rights. We shed our personal kingdoms, we throw down our claims for self-rule. We become a slave. In our hands, instead, is a cross—a symbol of humiliation and brokenness and victory.

We’re called to live as Jesus lived and to do what we see the Father doing. In other words, when we make a cause about “rights,” we’re pointing to us—not Him. When we charge in to remove injustice for the sake of injustice, we’ve stepped beyond the bounds of the gospel.

God is a God of justice. But that doesn’t have anything to do with human rights or fairness or equality. It has to do with seeing God’s kingdom break out all over. And when God’s kingdom breaks out, then we see transformation. Then we see what His love can do.

From a human perspective, God’s kingdom isn’t fair. He doesn’t allow “equal” marriages; He doesn’t let us live like we think we should; He doesn’t give us our “rights.”

So, what do we get instead? Jesus and a righteousness we don’t deserve. To be blunt, all our rights are like dung compared to that.