Monday, June 23, 2008

Real Success

One of my favorite movies of all time is a picture called "Mr Holland's Opus." I know it's an old one. It's a good movie in and of itself, but I will always have a soft spot for this movie because when I saw it for the first time in the theater, it delivered a powerful message to my heart that I really needed to hear."Mr Holland's Opus" is sort of a modern version of "It's a Wonderful Life." In the film, Mr. Holland (played by Richard Dreyfus) is a musician with dreams of making it big as a composer. To make ends meet and to put food on the table, he takes a job as a music teacher in a school. He enjoys interacting with the students and teaching them music, but he still dreams of success, fame and adulation as a composer. He tells his wife he will just teach for a year or so to get them back on their feet financially. That one year turns into two, those two years into ten, those ten years into twenty, and before you know it, it is time for him to retire.As he reaches the end of his teaching career, Mr. Holland is dejected and feels like a total failure. He has wasted his life teaching school and never made it big. He cleans out his desk and heads home for the last time. One of his fellow teachers uses some excuse to get him to come into the school's auditorium and he is shocked by what he finds. The auditorium is filled with thousands of his former students, all of whom have come to let Mr. Holland know how much he affected their lives. Each one of the students has a story to tell how they were touched, inspired, motivated, challenged, or encouraged by this man who was much, much more than just a music teacher to them.Mr. Holland looked around the room and realized that he was not a failure. He saw all these people who had been impacted by his life and he realized that while he didn't make it big in the way he wanted to, there was no way around the fact that he had been a success in his career.

If we are not careful, we can buy into the world's definition of success and that becomes the yardstick by which we measure our lives. But that is not the measure that God uses! He is much more concerned with how you lived your life than the stuff that you accumulate. He is more interested in how many people you are bringing to heaven with you than with the size of your 401K. He is more impressed by the people you invest your time, effort and love into, than your investmen portfolio. It is those things that are eternal that touch the heart of God.

Do you sometimes feel like a failure in the world's eyes? If so, think about the lives that you have touched, and think about the heavenly version of Mr. Holland's surprise party in the school auditorium! Think about all of the people whose lives you have touched by acts of kindness, or service. Think about those who you have shared Christ with who will be in heaven because of you. Imagine all of those people gathered together in heaven to welcome you home and to thank you for touching their lives.


Matt and Kristi Tart said...

Ooooo...Kev. Did I tell you, yet, that this is RIGHT.ON.

:) Love from the sistah.

Anonymous said...

ur blogz r awsum

Alisyn S. said...


It never fails that just after reading your words I feel so uplifted and faithful in god. I know that you share what he has to say to us. Your words give me hope and understanding, oddly enough, just where I need it the most. This is so true that God wants me to share him with people especially the people who have been here with me from the beginning, along with the ones who will be there with me till the end. I honestly have to thank almost everytime I read these words. They help me more than you can imagine and I want you to know even if you already do you are quite like Mr. Holland(not the failure part!) there are more people out there that have been changed by what you and genesis have done and you are greatly appreciated. Thank you.
alisyn studeman