I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you. (Galatians 4:11)
“Where have we failed?”
When the people we have invested our lives in ignore the basic principles we hold dear, we wonder what went wrong. How did we fail to pass along the truths that form the foundation of our very being?
I have had conversations with parents who were heartbroken over poor decisions their children made. Almost all of them have instinctively reflected over the past in an effort to figure out where they might have gone wrong.
I have heard the disappointment in an employer’s voice when someone he hired, trained and mentored has damaged the company with unethical or illegal behavior. How could someone he had been so good to do something so wrong?
And I have listened to the frustrations of God servants who have poured their lives into those who are downcast, only to watch them throw away all of the advances they have made to return to their destructive habits.
When we lead others, we expect good things, and when bad things happen, we can’t help but take it personally.
The apostle Paul had given his life to the Galatians. He had introduced them to Christ, and helped them discern how to view Old Testament practices in light of the cross. And since the differences between Jews and Gentiles were cultural as well as spiritual, he had worked to help both groups see how Jesus’ sacrifice and their decision to follow Him should change their attitude toward one another.
But the reports were not good. Evidently, some had forsaken the simple message of the cross and had begun seeking righteousness through the Law, which could not be kept. Not only this, but they were imposing their views on others, discouraging people in their faith and creating disharmony in the body of Christ.
Where had Paul failed?
People have a mind of their own, and they often let their relationships with others and their human ambitions get in the way of the truth. Unfortunately, our fear of being rejected by the people we are trying to impress will lead us to do desperate things…even turn our backs on what we know to be right.
Of course, we are imperfect beings, and we do fail in our leadership of others at times. We just shouldn’t let the perception of failure make us think we are wasting our time.
Dear God, show me where my efforts make a difference in others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.