One of the biggest things I am learning currently is that God does not measure “success” on human terms. As my pastor recently put it, a believer’s focus/what God wants to see from His people is faithful obedience, not results. This is tough for me to swallow. You see, I like results because you can see them, measure them, talk about them, brag about them, compare them, etc. But Jesus is faithfully reminding me that results, especially on my terms, are not His ultimate desire. Therefore, here are some of the thoughts I have been mulling over as of late.
Being “effective” for God’s kingdom is not necessarily about sharing Jesus with the most people, or going on the most mission trips, or doing the most local service projects, or feeling like you are a part of changing the most lives. It isn’t necessarily about rejecting materialism or choosing a job that is clearly ministry, or in my specific case, about trying really hard to place the greatest number of orphan children in Christian homes. These things can be very good, but they shouldn’t be the end-all or only focus of a believer’s life. God does not evaluate effectiveness by numbers or results or victories, especially as we would define those things. A true follower of Jesus should instead and above all be focused on bringing Him glory, which can be done in a number of ways that do not seem the most “effective” or “efficient” to my finite, overly-logical mind. Glorifying the Lord may even mean laying down what I feel like is a talent or passion that He has given me to do something I would consider small, insignificant, and/or a waste of my time, simply because He has called me to do so. The point is that if God calls me to it, it doesn’t matter what it is or what is the outcome – what He desires to see from me and what I hope to learn to love to give Him is faithful obedience. I want to grow to trust His plan so much that I don’t bat an eye if what He asks me to do doesn’t make sense to me based on my human knowledge of Him and what I feel that He is trying to accomplish in His world. How dare I try to impose my limited understanding of a perfect God onto Him anyway!
Bringing glory to the Lord can occur through things that do not seem to me like they will directly advance God’s kingdom, such as going on a date with my sweet husband, spending personal time in the Word, encouraging a friend (who already knows Jesus) over lunch, giving something my best effort at work when no one will see or care. These are not “grand” as the world or even most Christians would define the word, yet they can be pure offerings of the heart – ways to follow, pursue, and reflect Jesus in each small moment, which is, after all, what walking with Him looks like. Taking each moment as it is gifted and choosing to use that moment to glorify the Lord through my heart, mind, body, words, and actions. Often what may seem like “the little things” to me, are ways I can choose Jesus over everything else, including what I am tempted to consider more “grand” and “successful” endeavors to be a witness for Him.
Allow your focus to be faithful obedience to the Lord today, regardless of what you presume the outcome of that obedience will be. Outcomes are God’s business! What freedom there is in following His lead and trusting His master plan – you cannot mess it up even if you tried really hard to do so! Out of your love and gratitude for the Lord and all He has already done for you, glorify Him by listening to, walking with, and obeying Him today and each new day you are given.
International Social Worker