Ministry

Are You Consumed with Outcomes or Compelled by Obedience?

June 3, 2016

Our generation is addicted to results.  Plain and simple.  From our social media posts to our grand and opulent buildings we measure our success and worth by the outcome of our endeavors.  It is the outcome, we surmise, that determines our level of success.  For example, if a video is posted online and it goes viral, it is deemed a cultural sensation, regardless of its content or substance.  If a meeting is scheduled with a maximum capacity in attendance, we consider that meeting effective, regardless of its spiritual depth.  We love numbers, we love statistics, we love the idea of things being big.  We love these things because we measure our value in size and response.  If something is large, and we can see actual results, then it is “blessed.” Ironically, this is antithetical to kingdom living.

Some Things are Never Seen

John the Baptist measured his success by decrease, not increase.  Jesus said we had to lose our lives in order to find our lives.  Only the last, ironically, shall be first.  In this divine infrastructure, it is impossible to measure success by outcome; and that’s the way God intends it.  I know many men, ministries, and movements that live in the cold shadows of other people’s numbers.  I must admit, I have passed through those dark and dreary places myself.  It is there that we look at the campaigns, degrees, revivals, buildings, abilities, and accolades of others only to feel inadequate about our own lot.

Such living is not rooted in faith.  Genuine faith is this: The substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  We should underline “not seen” because the truth is, we want to see it, measure it, catalogue it, and parade it in front of others.  The great heroes of the faith “all died, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them and embraced them, and confessed they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” Their results were in another country, one Who’s Builder and Maker is God.  Instead of counting, they just complied.  Instead of tallying, they just trusted.  They were not consumed with outcomes; they were compelled by obedience.

Overcoming Outcomes with Obedient Living

And this must be our admonition: Obey God and leave the results to Him. Grab as much seed as you can, plant it in as many places as you can, saturate it with as much water as you can, and pray over it with passion and tears.  But never do those things with the idea that you are responsible for the increase.  God is in charge of that!  And sometimes, He doesn’t even allow you to see the harvest.

In his book, Loving God, Charles Colson said, “Knowing how susceptible we are to success’s siren call, God does not [fully] allow us to see, and therefore glory in, what is done through us.  The very nature of obedience He demands is that it be given without regard to circumstances or results.”  Instead of spending the day fretting over results, just be obedient.  Such a life may never go viral, but it will be overwhelmed with the grandest outcome of all: the glory of Jesus Christ.

 

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