God’s Criteria for Success


As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. 11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9:9-13 (New International Version)

The Criteria for Success

What is the criteria that people look for when selecting people to be in positions of prestige?  Most people, look for individuals who are the smartest and the brightest in their area of expertise.  They look at their physical appearance as well as their background to make their choice.  After sorting out the candidates for the position, they are graded according to world’s criteria and then selected for the job.     

Why Him?

Were there times in your life when you hear about a certain someone receiving a promotion or the pay raise that does not meet the criteria of success?   After hearing about this we asked, “Why did that guy get it?  I mean… look at him.  He is not even qualified.”  We become astonished to the point of disgust when we see people who we feel are not qualified, getting a position of honor.  We even go as far as saying that the person who made the choice made the wrong one.

What God Sees

However, what if the person who made the choice was God himself?  That question ought to make us take pause and wonder what it is that God sees that we can’t.  Throughout the Bible, the Lord has chosen people to be in leadership that do not necessarily meet the world’s standards.

Unlikely Leaders

King David, for instance, was not a warrior.  Instead he started his career as a lowly shepherd boy.  The man Moses, who would eventually lead Israel out of Egypt, started out in prominence as an adopted son to the king of Egypt.  However, that success was ruined the moment he decided to murder an Egyptian.  Despite this, the Lord still chose him to guide the nation our of bondage.  What was it that God saw in them that led to their selection?

Choosing the Undesirable

In order to recognize what it is the Almighty sees, let’s examine how Jesus chose His twelve Apostles.  When selecting His inner circle, Jesus did not choose people that were a part of the religious elite like the Pharisees.  Instead, He selected individuals that society declared as unqualified for such a job.

Choosing a Traitor

One such person that Jesus chose was the man Matthew.  In the eyes of the world he lived in, Matthew was considered a traitor to his people because his job was to collect taxes for the hated Romans.  Despite this, Jesus chose him anyway and Matthew would later go on to do great things for God and even write a Gospel about Jesus.

Looking at the Heart

Why does the Lord choose those that are declared unfit to do amazing work for Him?  The one thing we need to understand is that God does not make His choice based on outward appearances.  He knows that what is outside a person is just a mask and does not reveal their true essence.  The Almighty goes beyond skin deep and examines the heart of man.

Pride Ruins Everything

When God seeks people to do His work, He doesn’t choose people who have accomplished many things.  That is because their pride over their achievements may cause them to feel that they know better than God does when it comes to certain issues. This would blind them from doing the things God has instructed them to.

The Humble Trusts God

On the other hand, those who recognize they are not perfect and have made mistakes are more receptive to following God’s will.  They want to do better for God and they understand that the only way they can do that is by trusting in Him.  Due to their faith, these individuals, who humbled themselves before the Almighty, accomplish wonders that not only give them honor but bring glory to the One who sent them.

Search Your Heart

If we want to be effective servants in the Kingdom of God, we must set aside the pride that we have for our achievements.  We must admit to ourselves that we are not perfect and that we are incapable of doing anything without the guidance of the Almighty.  Even our achievements are not possible had it not been for the Lord giving us the means to do them.  Only when we do this, can God use us for great acts of faith.

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