In our interview there are quite a few interesting questions. One on them was – what is your greatest achievement? What would you answer? What would you say? Sure there will be different answers for different people.
What I am interested in is – who or what determines which things we consider achievements? This is important. Think about it. What determines which things we consider achievements?
The answer is – usually the society around us. So, what are achievements in our society. What usually are considered achievements? If you are successful, in business, or in sport, if you have earned a lots of money, if you are famous, a celebrity. You need to have some weight to be considered an achiever. Do you agree that these are our usual criteria?
If this is so, then what about the majority of people, those 99 percent who do not fit into these categories? What about them? It seems they have achieved nothing.
If you have to live according to these criteria then you may find that you actually haven’t achieved anything. That you are … poor an achiever, or simply a failure. You may spend your whole life trying to achieve some of these things, but … you know how it often goes. Not much happens.
What I want to propose to you is an alternative criteria. These are Christian, Biblical criteria for achievements. We can say these are criteria given by our Creator Himself.
You may have heard about the teaching about vocation. Have you? That was one of the most significant contributions of Dr. Martin Luther. So, what is this teaching. It is very simple.
Our God is the Creator. And it doesn’t mean that He simply created the Universe in the beginning and now is absent. It means that He does His work of creation all the time. He is the source of all life.
And He is the One who daily provides for us everything that we need for our living. The question is, how does He do it? He does is through creation, and He does it through us, through people.
How does He provide for a little child? Through parents. How does He provide for men? Through their wives. How does He provide our food? Through farmers. How does He provide for peace and order? Through government, police, army. How does He teach us? Through teachers and professors. How does He cure us? Through doctors and nurses. And so on.
God the Creator provides for us, and He does it through us. This is how we understand what vocation is. That is a place, or relationships where God the Creator uses you to serve others.
It is a place or relationships where He uses you to serve others. You all have many vocations. I can name some of mine. First and the most important I am a husband to my wife. Then I am a father to my children. I am a child to my parents. I am also a father-in-law and a son-in-law.
I am a pastor to St. Paul’s and Gnadenberg. I am a Christian in Lutheran church. I am a student in Concordia Seminary. I am a member of Creative Word Fellowship. I am a citizen of Latvia and permanent resident of Australia. I am a couch of SA AW team. I am a friend to my friends. I am a neighbor to my neighbors. And so on.
In all these relationships God the Creator uses me to care for these people. All these are my vocations. The same is true about you. Each of you have many vocations. In each of them you are Co-worker with the Creator. You are in one team with your God.
Now we can get back to our initial question about our achievement. What are our truly important achievements? Listen carefully – your greatest achievements in eyes on your Creator are when you faithfully serve in your vocations.
Sure it may not seem like a big deal. No splendor. No fame. No spotlights. But these are our truly great achievements. When we as children honor our parents and obey them. When we try to be diligent and obedient students to our teachers and support our classmates.
When we faithfully love and serve our wives with all our talents and energy, especially when they are tired or angry, or when we keep chaste before we are married. When we change smelly dippers to our children. When we play with them and teach them about Jesus Christ.
When we take care of our parents in their old age, when they become more difficult to communicate with. When we do our job not as doing it for money, but as serving people. When we are there for our friends, when they need us, and so on. When we serve in all our vocations sacrificially, denying ourselves, and loving others more that ourselves.
There are your greatest achievements. See, you with your unique talents and personalities and experience are like unique fingertips – and there is a unique way how only you can touch people in your life, in your vocations.
As we strive to do it, with commitment, sacrificing our own selfish interests, serving others, allowing God to use us for the sake of others, this is where our true achievements are. These are things that really matter.
And if we fail, and we all do, probably more often that we succeed, then you know that you have Jesus Christ. He has taken all your failures upon Himself. He welcomes you not because of your achievements, but because He loves you. Not because you are perfect, but because He will make you perfect.
See, for Christians it is a win-win situation. Our greatest achievements are when we do work together with our God in all our vocations. Serving others self-sacrificially, as He does to us. But our ultimate value and dignity comes not from our achievements, but from our God, who welcomes everyone. Whoever you are, whatever you have done.
Go, therefore and serve in your vocations, have fun, and know that Jesus Christ doesn’t need your achievements, He wants you.
That’s a good thing to know.