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Success is…

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I have enjoyed reading Charlie Mackesy’s book: THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE. It’s written and presented in a way that reminds one of the annual issues of the comics (the picture book magazines about often fantastical heroes and characters) that delighted so many in our childhood and teenage years.

Except, of course, that Charlie’s book is no ordinary comic-book. His words and art (drawings/sketches) deal with weighty matters of Love, Friendship and Kindness in earnest ways.

If you’re wondering how take (even a cursory) look at the sketch below, it interrogates success in a most disarming way. It offers a seemingly simple but compelling insight into what it means to be successful.

Take a look.

And, when you halt before both words and art, you’re soon reminded of the towering Christian truth that Jesus used to illustrate success in the synoptic gospels:

”Sell everything you own and give it away to the poor. Then you will have riches in heaven.”

The towering challenge of that injunction is, of course, that we can meet the exacting standards of God’s kingdom, only if we love the other!

This demanding insight is there, summarised, yet fully formed, in Charlie’s words and art.

As Christians, it is comforting that Jesus helps us along the climb to the top of this precarious challenge with this charge (a new command): ”Love one another as I have loved you.”

In essence, what Jesus means is this: ”Show interest in others.” The demand is for us to be as interested and concerned in our neighbour as God is devoted to us in Jesus Christ.

John’s gospel explains that to us:

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son.

And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.

God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” – John 3.16-17 (MSG)

Author: Fr Bunmi Fagbemi