Failure or Success?

Published 5:08 pm Friday, March 23, 2018

For some time I have been looking and asking around in hopes of finding an old but useable pickup truck at a price that I could afford.  As I drove by a local business I spotted one among other used vehicles on the sales lot that appeared to be what I had been searching for.  After some inquiry and investigation—and a little negotiation with the owner—I made the purchase.  So far I have been extremely pleased.  Even though it is nearly twenty years old, it is like a new toy to me.

A small repair that needed to be taken care of on my truck was the replacement of two light sockets.  After buying the replacement parts I crawled underneath to plug the new piece in–only to find that it did not match up.  But that was no big deal; I simply cut the end off the new socket assembly and replaced it with the end off the old one.  After carefully connecting the wires and wrapping them with tape it seemed secure and ready to install, but to my dismay it still would not fit.  It was then that I realized that I had connected the wrong part of the old socket assembly to the new one.  What I thought was a success turned out to be a failure, at least for the moment. 

Life is filled with failures and disappointments; sometimes it is not even immediately clear if we have failed or succeeded.  As for my failure with the truck repair, I quickly corrected my blunder and everything turned out just fine.  Someone wrote that “Failure isn’t so bad if it doesn’t attack the heart.  Success is alright if it doesn’t go to the head.”

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As we observe Holy Week, remembering the events that led up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we find that His triumphal entry into Jerusalem was filled with a euphoric crowd who was sure that He was an outstanding success and that He would fulfill their expectations of the role of the long awaited Messiah:  “A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  The crowds that went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David!’  ‘Blessed is He Who comes in the name of the Lord!’  ‘Hosanna in the highest.’  When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”  The crowds answered, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee’” (Matthew 21:8-11, New International Version).

The crowds who greeted Christ were convinced that He was an overwhelming success because they expected Him to be their ruler—militarily, politically, and in every way that one would expect an earthly ruler to be.  But the tide quickly changed when they realized that His kingdom was of a different sort; it was a spiritual kingdom; it was the Kingdom of God.  When He did not meet their personal expectations, their view of this King of the Jews moved from seeing Him as an overwhelming success to an absolute failure:  “’What shall I do, then, with Jesus Who is called Christ?’ asked Pilate.  They all answered, “Crucify Him!”  “Why?  What crime has He committed?” asked Pilate.  But they shouted all the louder, ‘Crucify Him!’”  (Matthew 27:22-23).

Was Christ a success or a failure?  People might give varying answers to that inquiry, but we know from Scripture that He was without any doubt a complete success for He achieved what He came to earth to do—provide eternal life for those who will give their hearts to Him.

As we reflect on the suffering and sacrifice of Christ, always remember that He made the only way for you to have eternal hope.  That is real success!