A while back I added this quote to my collection of inspiring words that surround my desk. It’s been stumping me ever since.
“God does not require success, but radical, immediate obedience.”
I’m not sure who said it, but I am challenged by it. What a statement. I think it’s the word “radical” that really gets my attention. When’s the last time I acted radically about anything, especially for God?
Not long after coming across this quote I found a profound story online, told by Gilles Côté about his first-hand experience witnessing childlike faith in his three-year-old daughter. The entire meditation can be read here.
I was walking down a very steep, very high flight of stairs in the turn-of-the century house where we were living at the time. I had just reached the bottom step when I heard a tiny voice behind me calling, “Papa!’ I turned around, looked up, and saw a flying grin hurdling towards me. My daughter had seen me at the bottom of the stairwell and spontaneously decided to take a shortcut. After all, why walk when you can fly? There was no long debate in her tiny little head as to whether or not the “old man” could catch her, or on the wisdom of flying without a license. She simply saw with the eyes of her trust in me. There was no doubt in her mind that “papa” could catch her. Jumping was not folly and the present could and should be lived with a big grin on ones face.
Now that is radical. Daddy will catch me. Children have no problem being radical. This story reminds me that I, too often, find myself chasing after success when all I really want to do is jump into His arms.
What an awesome image of how we’re meant to love God in return – it made me a little teary! Thanks – it challenged me and made me smile.
Someone just shared with me that Mother Theresa (Blessed Theresa) of Calcutta said, “God does not require success, but radical, immediate obedience.”
Becky K says
Kim…I have a photo of your sister-in-law and me jumping like that little kid…I will try to find it and send it to you.
About 7 years ago, a man said to me and my husband: “Attempt something so great, that unless God be in it, it is destined to fail”. Well, like you and Jason, we took a step that was so huge and ‘irresponsible’, based on the faith that God was leading us that way, and thinking He would bring success. ‘Failure’ came, but that doesn’t mean that God wasn’t in it.
The author of the quote in you post is very wise indeed. My motto for some time has been just that: ‘We are not called to success. We are called to obedience’. I had never heard anyone else say that before.
I find that more and more I am leaping off the staircase at the sound of His voice, knowing that the simple act of trust and obedience is the greatest success I’ll ever need.