As I was reading the article and thinking about the company he keeps, I recognized this fact, all 5 of these men all had long careers, all of them pitching into their 40's. Only one of them (Moyer) has pitched on teams that would be considered "great" teams. While each of them may have had one or two years where they really seemed to excel, the fact is, that for most of their careers, they were not "superstars" but rather were steady and consistent over the long haul.
That last fact really jumps out at me and got me to thinking about how we define success. Sadly, more times than not, we define success by what "wows" us... often times a flash in the pan. I've been a huge baseball fan since I was a small child, and I've seen some guys burst on the scene and take the attention of the baseball world by storm, only to just as quickly fade away. Guys like Mark "The Bird" Fidrych who burst on the scene in 1976, winning rookie of the year while pitching for the Detroit Tigers and winning 19 games, despite not even pitching an entire season. He was dubbed "great", "superstar" and so on, but when he retired just 4 years later he had only won 10 more major league games in his career. Bud Smith burst onto the scene midway through the 2001 season as a Saint Louis Cardinal going on to win 6 games with one of those games being a no-hitter. He was labeled the next superstar and was a key component in a huge trade between the Cardinals and the Phillies. But Smith won only one more game in his career before quitting the game. I could go on and on with such examples. But the point I'm making is that success should not be judged on a moment, or a season, but rather, by looking at the long haul. Would you rather have a spectacular game or season, or a steady career where you've been consistent for 2 decades? I'll take the later.
Now, I've said all this to bring us face to face with a glaring problem that we have in the Body of Christ. We are quick to elevate people to "superstar" status because they can preach a great revival, or they start a church that explodes with growth and so on. I've been around long enough that I've seen it way too many times. And so many times, (not always, but many) I've seen that person's ministry blow up. Men and women are flashy, successful (by man's standard) and they are thrust in front of the camera, they write books and make the circuit riding the wave. The problem is that way too often, when it all is said and done, we see preachers having affairs, using drugs, homosexual activity, and other scandals surface in their ministry. I've seen guys start churches and in a very short period of time they have that church running 300, 500 or more, only to see that church in bankruptcy 2 or 3 years later. Again, how do we define success? Is it bursting onto the scene to the cheers and applause only to fade away or fall, or is success found in the man or woman who spends a lifetime as pastor in a small town making strong disciples within his church of 30, 50 or 80? I have to say, some of my heroes are men whose names may never be known by the vast majority of people. My father is one of them. He spent years pioneering churches across Missouri and Iowa, and once that church was established he moved on to another town to do the same. Some would call him a failure because he never pastored a large church. I call him my hero. And there are hundreds like him. There are men I know here in Illinois who have spent more than 20 years at the same church, and the churches are not large by any stretch of the imagination, but they have some of the most dedicated, loyal Christians and church members that you will ever meet. They know the Word of God because they've been taught and instructed in the way of righteousness. Again, I cannot speak for anyone else, but I would call these men a success long before I'd call a "superstar" on TBN a success. Money and fame does not equate necessarily equate to success, nor does it exclude success. My point is don't get caught up in the hype and hoopla of a moment or a move... keep your eye on the big picture. Success to me is not a flash in the pan or a big event... it is the steady, consistent walk that matters.