FriI’m thinking of my church planting friends who are serving faithfully in July without a lot of results to show for their efforts. Be faithful!
We are a results oriented culture and that’s not all bad. Pragmatism must be considered because if something is not working we should look long and hard to see if it should be considered. We’ve all heard the definition of insanity, keep doing what you’re doing but hoping for a different result. Understanding outcomes and keeping our eye on the target is a must if we are to accomplish our goals.
There would be little if any disagreement on any of the above statements but they don’t tell the whole story. Take the last line for example, we set goals but the reality is that God’s agenda may be different than ours. Absolutlely we should measure! But it is possible to measure something and rejoice or be in despair when God has a whole different plan. For example, Job was severly tested when God predicted from the beginning that there would be no gile found in him. During the test if you only measured results it would have appeared, as it did to his friends, that God had forsaken him. It was a test not a sign of failure.
Moses led the people of God across a desert because it was between where he was and the Promised Land. Then during the trek the people rebelled and Moses had to adjust his timeline to the timeline of outliving the consequences that were not his choices. If we measured the results in the desert we could have deamened it a failure. God led them through the desert and Moses was faithful. In fact, if he hadn’t interceeded for the people they would have been destroyed. A learning process was underway and there were lessons to pass before they could graduate to the Promised Land.
An example from nature is that there is a time after the planting of seeds but before the plant pops out of the ground where you can’t see what is happening. It is beneath the surface. The result from above the soil appears to be null and void. If you dig it up to see you will destroy the progress. You have to be patient and have faith.
I could go on to stories of David, Peter and Paul but you get the idea. Here’s the final thought to take with you through the day. Results matter. They do! But even more important than the results is to know the will and voice of God then be faithful to it. Fruit is a better test than results. Fruit might be character growth, fruit might be obedience despite results, fruit might be endurance, whatever else it is fruit is growth in godliness.
A wise minister told me years ago, don’t think you’re a superstar after Easter Sunday and don’t resign in July. Results measured over time are a good indicator of whether you are making progress or not. Be sure you are measuring the right things. And remember, there is more at work than you know at any given time. Faithful obedient endurance in the direction of God’s will always bears fruit and in the end fruitfulness is God’s truest measurement.
As the scripture says, Keep your eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.[a] Because of the joy[b] awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. 3 Think of all the hostility he endured from sinful people;[c] then you won’t become weary and give up. Hebrews 12:2-4