Sunday, September 19, 2010

"The Seduction of Achievement"

The sermon this morning at Crosspoint was on the tendency to fall prey to chasing after success and achievement at all costs.  Our society is largely performance-based; we learn from a young age that desirable behaviour and small accomplishments are met with praise from our parents.  Or, for some, they go through childhood doing everything to try to gain that parental nod of approvement, but no matter how much they achieve, they never get it.  I count myself lucky to be in the first group.

Either way, there is a lot of emphasis placed on achieving, progressing, succeeding.  Success isn't inherently bad, but, as one psychologist put it, "Achievement is the drug of our time."  A society of people whose identities are success-based is doomed to produce workaholics, people addicted to the high of achieving grand things.  I certainly thrive on the excitement of setting goals, working hard to achieve them, and watching them come to fruition, but I don't do it at the expense of a balanced life.  I work really hard to not let my days become focused on what I'm doing and what I hope to achieve, but rather on the people and relationships that bring so much joy to my day.

But one statement that Pastor Pete made this morning really stuck with me.

He said, "God didn't make a human-doing, he made a human-being." Sometimes we need to stop, take a deep breath, smell the roses, hug our loved ones, and leave that next big pursuit for another day.  At the end of it all, we shouldn't find our identity in our status, the title we've attained, the company we work for, the deals we've closed, the dollars we've banked.  Life is so much more. 

"And how do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul in the process?"
Matthew 16:26


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