Thursday, April 14, 2011

Low Man on the Totem Pole

I am officially in Colorado with a beautiful view of a snow covered Pike's Peak. Memories and writing mentors are my constant companions. In my 22 years, I have tasted a lot of success and  a lot of failure. But as I have prayed and struggled to identify success this week, I have come back to one statement made thousands of years ago by the greatest man to ever walk the earth:

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all." Mark 10:43-44

When I stand before Jesus one day, He won't ask me what my college GPA was or how I tasted success in my writing career. He won't applaud me for winning a state competition my senior year of high school or stand in awe of my traveling adventures. He will ask me, "How did you serve with the gifts I gave you?"

Man, that's humbling. Jesus defines success as servant hood.  That puts a new spin on failure, doesn't it?
Success isn't a focus on the end all, be all. The journey is the destination that will define your success.

You want to be great? You want to find success and happiness? Jesus says success is an eternal mindset. Success requires sacrifice. In that, there is greatness.

In Native American cultures, totem poles were used to tell tribal legends, show family history, or represent the culture. We often refer to those figures on the bottom as less important because of our phrase "low man on the totem pole." Different cultures arranged figures different ways, but I would argue that to be the low man on the totem pole is a title the Lord holds in high regard. The low man is the odd man out, the one everyone overlooks, and undervalues. He is thought of as weak, unimportant, and ordinary. 


If you think about it, the low man on the totem pole supports the rest of his members. He is strong yet unnoticed, base but vital, exalting and supporting the others yet unappreciated and criticized. He is the servant. He is the least of his members, but the Lord calls the least, the greatest. 

The measure of success is becoming that low man on the totem pole, succeeding at edifying and serving others, even if no one else notices. It isn't success as the world defines it, but success as the God of the Universe defines it.

Are you succeeding at what counts?

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