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What You Do Matters... Always!

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I have been told that I am driven. That is usually meant in a complimentary way. It suggests that I don’t give up when striving toward an objective or goal, even in the face of adversity, and as a rule, am ultimately successfully. That is largely true, but all along the way, there are always challenges and failures and problems. In fact, these eventualities are so frequent that one is often tempted to give up. And it is my contention, that those challenges and difficulties are critical to one’s overall well-being, and even success! Did you know that Michael Jordan, who is arguably the best basketball player ever, once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been entrusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” A recitation of such negative statistics would not normally suggest success, but his point is well taken. Now of course his ultimate successes did not come as a function of the failures, qua failures, but rather through the persistence and hard work, motivated by those “failures”. Similar stories are told of other celebrities who arose from relative obscurity to great notoriety: Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowlings, Sylvester Stallone, and on and on. All of them, to a person, would point to the importance of the effort and activity and not necessarily the final outcome. What made them who they are, was not the final outcome, but how they got there. There is an inherent danger in making too simple comparisons between Jesus and other human beings, but there are some things to be said. In our text for the Second Sunday in Lent (Luke 13: 31-35), Jesus is in the middle of his journey to Jerusalem, where he knows he will be killed. A couple of weeks ago, we were privileged to be led in worship by our youth, and they read a text from Luke chapter 9, and towards the end of that chapter it repeats a couple of times that Jesus has set his face toward Jerusalem. He knows full well what will happen, but he is determined to go. He must. And on the way, a lot happens! And what he did, mattered! This weekend we’ll explore our tendency to see the endpoint as the only thing of value, and that we often forget the profound importance of what happens along the way. Indeed, what you do matters…always!

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