Thursday, July 21, 2016

Lousy Predictor of Success and the Power of an Advocate

I was going through my report cards from elementary school days while cleaning out my folks' home as we prepped it for sale. I had remembered me as being a perfect student. It turns out, that was not quite accurate. I did receive a lot of A's...but I consistently reaped B's in the same three subjects through the early years of elementary school.

First, I want you to remember that my majors in college were Art, with a minor in Writing. Physical activity has been a major part of my life since I could walk. I am a runner, kayaker, biker, skater, skier, horse rider, etc.  I am a professional artist and writer, and usually walk ten miles a day.

Now with that premise, guess what my three consistent B's were in?
Art, writing, and Physical Education. 

Those are three of the four things that probably most define me now. The fourth defining subject in my life is God. If God had been a class in elementary school, I bet I would have gotten a B.

I also got check marks: "needs work". Needs work????? Guess what that was for? "Vicky doesn't speak. She needs work on communicating with others."


It is a good thing that others' assessment of what we can and cannot do in life don't get to determine what we actually end up doing. This story reminds me of John Mark, an early missionary with the Biblical giants, Paul and Barnabus. John Mark had apparently abandoned Paul and Barnabus in their first missionary journey (Acts 13 of the Bible). A sharp disagreement arose between Paul and Barnabus. Paul did not want John Mark to accompany them any more. He no longer trusted him, but Barnabus insisted John Mark could be redeemed. Paul and Barnabus split ways over this heated disagreement. Barnabus took John Mark with him to Cyprus, and Paul went to Syria. Paul and Barnabus never saw each other again!

Apparently, John Mark flowered under Barnabus' encouragement. In fact, later in Paul's life, he requested John Mark be brought to him as John Mark had become so useful in spreading the gospel (2 Timothy 4:11).

How we begin is not necessarily how we will end. Other's assessment of what we will become is a lousy predictor of success sometimes.

I have no idea why I got B's in the subjects I excel in as an adult. I do remember I drew green cows and purple grass and my teachers didn't like that. I remember my mom went to bat for me, but I guess it didn't prevent me from getting a B in Art. I also remember I had private art lessons throughout my childhood, and those teachers praised and encouraged me. I knew I had talent because those encouragers made sure I knew it. They changed my destiny so much that I was SHOCKED to look back and see I only got a B in art.

This is an important lesson. Our potential is not determined by any one else's opinion, or our failures, immaturity, or past. Sometimes all it takes is someone to believe in us, fight for us, encourage us and we become what God intended us to be all along. We may not all be fortunate enough to have human advocates, though we DO all have an advocate.

Jesus Himself died for us, because He believes so strongly in our worth, in our sacred, intrinsic value. That's powerful. I bet Jesus knew I could draw and write, and one day would speak of His glory.

1 John 2:1 

My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,

He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.

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