When I started the US portion of the book tour at the end of April, three months seemed like a long time. Now with it done and dusted, three months went by seemingly in the blink of an eye. It was an amazing trip and I really can’t express how thankful I am to everyone who helped me along the way; I’ll never be able to repay everyone for all the help and support I received.
As much as I wish the US tour was still going, it will be nice to be home for a bit before starting the UK portion of the tour. I realize how fortunate I am to be able to get to do what I am doing, and I don’t ever want to take it for granted because I really have no idea how long it will last.
With that in mind I’ve been having a dialogue with the Lord lately on what success looks like. Does success look like book sales, or speaking engagements, or profits? These are things I’ve hoped would result from this tour. I’m not saying these things are bad at all, I think they can be great things; but do they determine what success looks like to Jesus? I was reading today where Jesus said that, “whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple.” It’s interesting to me to think about what the cross must have meant to those whom Jesus was speaking to. It was a symbol of a humiliating, criminal, and painful death. Not exactly the thing that would garner a following amongst the listeners. So why did Jesus say that? Jesus goes on to say, “…none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” Again, not exactly the type of thing you want to say if you are looking to gain a following, which obviously Jesus wasn’t concerned about. But still, why would He state such a thing?
When I think of the cross, I’m beginning to think it represents much more than sacrifice. When I imagine what was actually taking place when Jesus willingly chose the cross, I realize it was much more than a sacrifice. It was a complete identification with and understanding of the Father’s great plan. It was trust in His plan; trust in the results of obedience. It was the King of all creation removing all of His justly due glory, His justly due honor, even His own rights. It was the laying down of all self-interest, from Someone who had no self-interest to begin with; but He still laid it down. It was the ability to see success from Heaven’s standpoint.
At one point Jesus had thousands of followers; at the end of His earthly life even His 11 closest friends deserted Him. If you were to judge His life from a worldly standpoint it would be hard to call it a success. Yet His obedience still echoes through all eternity; His obedience changed the course of this world and continues to do so even today. So I think that perhaps what Jesus was getting at when He said those things was that if we are to truly be successful in this life it is going to require us to view success from a different perspective, from a Heavenly one. I hope and pray that I can get to the point where I view success according to Jesus’ standard, not my own.