A young Jewish girl is captured by a conquering nation and made into a servant-slave. There is nothing particularly special about her, except she chooses to have a good attitude despite her circumstances. To still treat those around her, including her capturers, with respect and care. She chose to share her faith with her captors.
Compare her with a second-generation immigrant who grows up consumed with crafting a successful business. He works hard to independently produce rock concerts, eventually landing artists like Frank Sinatra, the Who and the Rolling Stones while still in his twenties. His company transitions to film, eventually producing several blockbuster productions and winning numerous awards, including the W.E.B. Du Bois Medal, the British Film Institute award, one Oscar, five Tony’s and an honorary doctorate from the University of Buffalo. He has a net worth of nearly $300 million.
Who would you describe as having an ethic of excellence? Of being successful in their role? The slave girl? The rich second-generation immigrant? I think most of us would likely pick the latter. He has everything we are taught to value: prestige, wealth, a strong work ethic and success at the highest level.
What if I told you the name of that man is Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted sexual predator? My guess is your perception changes.
What’s more, the young Israelite slave girl’s simple decision to reflect the love of God had an eternal impact. Her owner happened to be a powerful commander of the Armenian army, highly regarded and valued by his leader, King Haaman. He had leprosy, a skin disease that was a slow death sentence in that era (as it is in other parts of our world today). Instead of watching him slowly perish, she chose to share that there was a prophet of God who might be able to heal him. She did this despite her circumstances and a possible negative reaction. The result? Not only did he find healing, he became a believer! (Read about it in 2 Kings 5)
Too often I define myself by the world’s version of success instead of God’s. I forget that our Creator isn’t so concerned with my profit sheet, my retirement account, my accolades, or my title. He IS profoundly interested in my heart, my character, and how I’m reflecting the love, compassion, and conviction of Jesus to those in my sphere. It’s not about perfection; it’s about a heart that is running after a relationship with Him.
Consider 2 Chronicles 16:9 that says, “The eyes of the LORD move to and fro throughout the earth so that He may support those whose heart is completely His.” God’s heart is to search and strengthen those who love Him. When my heart is His, He is pleased.
As I look at the impact of what the servant girl did, I’m struck by two things: 1. Many excuses could have legitimately stopped her. 2. Through her obedience, she impacted a very powerful man who came to know and worship the Lord.
Yet these are precisely the kind of men and women the Creator of the Universe loves to use—and views as successful! Every day people who are living everyday lives. There’s nothing remarkable about them in and of themselves. What becomes remarkable about their stories are the ways they choose to serve God.
If, like me, you find yourself getting caught up in the trap of comparison—and falling short—remember to place your value where it belongs: in the hand of the One who created and rescued you. He loves you with an everlasting love, and every decision of love you make is never wasted in his hands.
FOR FURTHER THOUGHT
Consider I John 2:15-17 which says, “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” (NLT)
Spend some time thinking about what buckets you are pouring your time into and filter those buckets through the eyes of the Creator. Would His heart smile at your choices? Remember, pleasing God comes from a grateful heart. It’s not about duty, but rather relationship. Simply spending time with your Creator is a simple yet brilliant start.
Lord, thank you for reminding me to put first things first, to keep my eyes on you, the author and perfecter of my faith. Help me to value what you value, to honor what you honor, and to seek out what you seek. Most of all, help me to love you well and to make our relationship a priority. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
To learn more about author & motivational speaker Barb Lownsbury or to have her speak at your next event, CLICK HERE.