Between Faithfulness and Success

Pastoral Reflections

Chuck Colson was once known as President Nixon’s hatchet man. He served as special counsel to Nixon and even became looped into the Watergate Scandal when he was counted as one of the Watergate Seven. He was driven by success and results.

Later, he had an encounter with the Gospel and was radically transformed by Christ. He went on to become one of the most influential Christian worldview thinkers and voices in recent history before he died in 2012.

It is reported that in his office at the Colson Center he had this sign engraved, “Faithfulness Not Success!” This has clung to my mind in the recent days.

Faithfulness versus Success! To be success-driven often entails putting ourselves (our future selves) in the center of the picture, and then strategizing toward that center. To be faithful, on the other hand, puts God’s heart in the fore, inspiring us to seek and submit to His leading. Colson seemed to have known a thing or two about either pursuit.

In less than two weeks, we will come together as a church family at our annual meeting. Pastorally, this phrase has hunted (not haunted!) me. Faithfulness versus success! Looking to that day, and the year ahead, how easily we may become tempted to idealize a certain ‘future self’ and make that the center of our human ambition. I need to remember, and bring to our remembrance, that God calls us first to faithfulness… to Him. He is in front. We are behind Him, putting our feet inside those big prints in the sand, step by step, where we “see” His footpath leading.