ADVENT & The Improbability of Life¬â„s Successes

“For some years now, my work has been such that every day of my life has necessarily been lived under the shadow of the improbability of my life’s successes.”

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin made these comments at a wedding on June 14, 1928. They weren’t spoken with bitterness or regret, but as an affirmation of faithfulness. De Chardin was pioneering an integrative approach to faith and science that left him out-of-step with both the community of faith and that of science. His work took on significance after he was gone, but in his own day the praise of others eluded him. Yet he pressed on with a sense of inner calling to his work.

How timely to think about faithfulness during the advent season. Was Jesus a “success?” Born in a humble town, Bethlehem. With the exception of early recognition by Anna and Simeon at the Temple, and a stunning display of knowledge in the Temple at twelve, Jesus first thirty-years went unnoticed. He lived at home with Mary and Joseph, worked a blue-collar job with his father, a carpenter, and lived in Nazareth, another unremarkable place.

His public ministry attracted crowds, but many who followed early left him, and he was eventually “without honor” in his own hometown. Having invested three years of his life with twelve disciples, Peter denied him and the others fled when he was crucified.

As Paul Harvey says, “and NOW you know the rest of the story.” Jesus life was a stunning success in retrospect, but DURING his thirty-three years, success, in the traditional sense of the word, is not how Jesus would be described. Yet he was faithful to God’s will each day and his Heavenly Father, God, was well pleased with His son.

So what of de Chardin’s comment, “ For some years now, my work has been such that every day of my life has necessarily been lived under the shadow of the improbability of my life’s successes.” These are his reflections on an outward assessment of his life, but de Chardin was marching to the beat of a different drummer and so should we.

Today culture is unimaginative in its definition of success, choosing external benchmarks as the measure. God, who we know looks on the heart not on outward appearance, has a different standard, a superior standard, a higher standard. Our success is gauged by our faithfulness to calibrating our daily life to His will, and like Jesus the succession of faithful days results in a “well done.”

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in November 30, 2004 by | No Comments »

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