Sunday, April 10, 2011

God, failure and the 'ouch' moment

American society seems to place a heavy emphasis on success.  There are championship contests: World Series, Super Bowl, NCAA Final Four.  We have indictors of success: large homes, fancy cars, big SUVs, expensive clothes.  But is success really defined by having the most, the biggest, or the most expensive?

How about failure?  If one does not have a Super Bowl ring, 3000+ sq. ft. house, Mercedes SUV, or Christian Dior, are you a failure?  Or do you have a different standard for measuring success?  Does God have a standard for determining success?

Would we consider  Moses, Solomon or Job a success?  What about Peter, Thomas, or Paul?  One could pick any person from the Bible and ask this question after reading about the individual.  Given the broad spectrum of people mentioned in the Bible, it would seem God has a very different standard for determining success or failure.

Saturday evening, Pagus presented the "Splendor and Holiness" seminar.  The Pagus Event Staff had worked to find and secure a facility based on their faith in God and purchased ad time from the leading, local Christian radio station serving the audience Pagus would like to reach.  The staff worked to create quality, professional looking promotional material about Pagus and the seminar.  The staff devoted several days to in-person contact with area churches instead of mailing the promo material.  The Pagus volunteer staff came Saturday evening to support the seminar by taking on the small but important jobs.  All was ready! Open the doors, let the masses come and bask in the presentation of God's Splendor and Holiness!

Cue the chirping crickets.

Pagus had scheduled, promoted, and planned for a successful seminar based on their belief in God's leadership.  Not as many people showed up as planned for; too many handouts printed, and a large venue filled with a handful of people.  One of the presenters, at 5 minutes after the scheduled start time, said "This is an ouch moment".  The director of the venue encouraged the Pagus staff to give the presentation since "every\thing was paid for".  The presentation was given and the stage with its red velvet curtain provided an impressive back drop for the volunteer videographers to capture the presentation.

Did Pagus fail or did God provide success?  From a human viewpoint, Pagus failed since the required number of attendees to break even did not appear, hours had been invested in feet-to-the-ground promotion, the radio ad did not produce anticipated results and the beautiful Broken Arrow PAC was wasted on a handful of people.

What is not seen is the number of people who will potentially be witnessed to by Pagus moving forward with what they believe is God's direction for Pagus.  What about the contacts made during in-person promotion?  What about the networking potential of the radio sales manager?  What about the pastors who expressed an interest in having Pagus speak at their church?  What about the potential for the video to touch people?

The potential for God to use each of us is unlimited because we cannot understand how He will take our perceived  failure and create success for Himself.  Let me throw out a Biblical example or two:  Job, Paul, Peter, Thomas.  As humans, we have difficulty with limiting a limitless God.  We like things to be solid, touchable, and definable.  All properties opposite of who and what God is considering He created the heavens from nothing just by speaking.