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Topic: Failure (03/01/04)
TITLE: Impressive Failure
By Donna Haug
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By: Donna Haug
March 6, 2004
To what lengths would YOU go to impress someone?
This past July a special event was taking place in Mozambique. Dignitaries from across Africa were converging in our capital city of Maputo for the African Union Summit. What a privilege and a thrill for this country, which just over 10 years ago was in the middle of civil war!
Do you know the feeling of rushing around your house trying to get everything tidied up just so for special visitors? This is exactly what happened in Maputo in the months before these meetings! Garbage, which routinely overflowed the large bins placed obstructively at the side of the road, was swept up and taken away. Garbage cans were even placed along the beach sidewalk as an incentive for people to place garbage there rather than letting it drop – a message that seemed to be totally lost on the population! A huge convention center was constructed on an empty lot at a location with a lovely view of the Indian Ocean. All throughout the city the street medians were suddenly decorated with flags and greenery. One particular street that leads from downtown, past the embassies, and towards the beach was presented with an incredible gift in the weeks before the dignitaries arrived. All along the median, the city workers transplanted eight-foot tall palm trees! Their beautiful green branches arched along the center of the busy avenue.
Unfortunately, they didn’t count on one fairly major problem – transplanting mature trees is a delicate task and requires great care and maintenance. Though this country’s resources are not abundant, immediate beauty was top priority, so the trees valiantly lifted their arms to the sky … for about a week. During the week of the summit the palm trees were attempting to put on a brave face but looked a little sad. Soon the outer branches began to turn an unattractive shade of brown, slowly drooping and becoming brittle. . Those of us who live here shook our heads as we watched them slowly deteriorate until today most of them are just brown trunks devoid of any branches. They brought beauty for a moment but it was a beauty that could not last.
Have you ever been guilty of hurriedly caring for external appearances so that others will be impressed without taking the time or effort required to make the heart changes that are long lasting and fruitful? Consider the words of God to Samuel: “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” (I Sam. 16:7 The Message)
Avoid impressive failure – it’s time for a heart check! Remember, it’s better to start small and grow than to start with a WOW and wilt!