Much has been written about attaining success. Success is frequently followed by money, power and privilege. In America, we can see on this display every day if we pay attention to the happenings in the Washington D.C. beltway or among the Hollywood elite. What happens if we define success differently?
As I look at the photo above I see the larger ship in the background. However, my eyes are mainly drawn to the little wooden boat on the beach. Defining success from a material standpoint would tell me that it is better to own the larger ship in the background rather than the small wooden boat. My reflection today is not about material success. It is about faith. It is about being willing to put out into the deep regardless of the size of the boat.
Another saying I have heard frequently is that "God does not call the qualified; He qualifies (equips) the called." As I reflect back upon nearly 18 years of ordained ministry, there have been many times when I certainly did not feel qualified. I never dreamed of the many things I would encounter as a minister of the Church. On numerous occasions I have felt as if I were in that little wooden boat pushed into the middle of the sea. Was I willing to cast my net into the deep in less than ideal circumstances?
My roles and responsibilities have shifted many times throughout the last 18 years, and there have been many "firsts" along the way. I was extremely nervous with each of those events--the first baptism, the first wedding, the first funeral, the first time preaching, the first marriage preparation class I taught, the first time called to the hospital, the first visit to a maximum security prison to offer a Word and Communion Service, the first time being a director of religious education in a parish, the first time teaching in a Catholic high school, the first time being a principal of a Catholic elementary school, the first time being a superintendent of Catholic schools, the first time being a vocation director and deacon director, the first time being the deacon at Mass with a bishop, and the list goes on and on.
I can honestly see that the Lord does indeed equip those whom he has called. "Increase my faith" is a prayer that needs to perpetually flow from my lips and my heart so that I can be faithful to the Lord. If I am able to do that, I will have achieved the success that I desire to experience--faithfulness to the Lord.
How has God equipped you for building up His Kingdom? To whom do you bring healing, peace, and joy? How is God calling you to follow Him today? How will you respond to His call?
May we all hear those words at the end of life here on this earth, "Well done my good and faithful servant." That is success!