ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reuben Morgan is Worship Pastor at Hillsong Church and a prolific songwriter.
Kingsway brings you the best in worship teaching from around the world. You can access our teaching library using the menus below:
Fathers and Sons
Making Sense Of An Upside Down World
Hillsong’s Reuben Morgan - songwriter, leader and worship pastor - on why our weakness matters more than ever.
Success is easy. It’s just a matter of creating the right impression, of having the right brand. Look a certain way, connect with the right people, create the right kind of online persona and put yourself out there and you’ll be on the right tracks to making the most of yourself.
Now, you know that’s rubbish, and I know it’s rubbish too, but the rest of the world? Maybe not so much. OK, perhaps not everyone believes this stuff, but there are still an awful lot of suits making an awful lot of money selling success in this way. From the stuff you shove in your hair to your choice of career/airline/toothpaste, we’re sold the line that projecting the right image is a vital ingredient in a successful life.
I’m not going to get into the reasons why this is so. People with bigger brains than me have figured that out already, but I do think that there’s space for exploring the opposite end of the argument. And to do that I need to tell you about Joe.
Joe was - and still is - a good guy. Maybe he’s a little stubborn, and it certainly seemed that way when he decided not to abandon his house in Queensland, Australia earlier this year despite the repeated - and increasingly urgent - flood warnings. But Joe had a connection to his house and he didn’t want to leave. Logic was beaten by emotion.
The rains came and he stayed where he was. The floods rose and he didn’t move. The ground floor of his home turned to a murky, darkened pool, and he stayed firm. But the waters didn’t stop and the pool wasn’t content to remain on the floor: it started to climb up the walls, devouring furniture, pictures and windows.
So Joe realised that he needed to get higher. He climbed onto his roof, but it was not high enough for the fear. He began to worry that he might get swept away, so he tried to swim for higher ground, only to find that the current was way fiercer than he had suspected. He only just clambered back to his roof, and stayed there - hoping, praying, watching - for the rest of the night.
We can be as brave, as wild, as capable as we like, but none of us have any real power over our own lives. Only God has that. Only God is able.
Why tell you about Joe? Because when we heard Joe’s story at church we shared his racing pulse. Why? Because it was the perfect reminder that we are all here by God’s grace. We can be as brave, as wild, as capable as we like, but none of us have any real power over our own lives. Only God has that. Only God is able.
Those last three words have taken on a whole new meaning for us this year. As fiercer winds have blown and even more dramatic - and tragic - stories than Joe’s have reached us, we have been reminded how without God, we really are such feeble, fragile creatures.
And for some people, this is shocking news. If you read enough of those magazines and believe enough of the adverts, the idea that we are feeble and fragile might leave a bad taste in your mouth. ‘But I thought that I was in control? I thought this was my life, lived my way, according to my rules?’
Yet the story doesn’t end there - our weakness is only part of the puzzle: a vital part that allows our eyes and hearts to be opened to the fact that while we might be left in desperation as we struggle to cling on to the roof, it is God who has the power to turn back the floodwaters. While we try to construct an identity out of rags and paint and simple stories about who we want to be, it is God who has the power to breathe stars into existence and touch our own lives with those same lips.
So let’s begin again where we first started out with all this: success is easy. It’s just a matter of letting the Creator make the fullest impression on your life, of having the message of the cross as your brand of choice. Live the Jesus way, connect with wrong people, become a child that serves your heavenly Father and put yourself out there for His use. And, yes, then you’ll be on the right tracks to making the most of yourself.
That’s what real success looks like: understanding that God is able, figuring out that in our weakness He makes all things possible. We matter - our choices matter, our lives matter, our impact matters - but not because we’re strong or great or smart or clever. What we do matters because we serve a God who is profoundly, perfectly, perpetually able. Able to love us, able to forgive us, able to build His Kingdom through us. Beautiful, isn’t it?