Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Faithfulness Verses Results

The pressure is on. We feel compelled to achieve positive results. Even in the tasks God calls us to do, the demand for “success”, both from ourselves and from others, can produce stress:

“What if only a few kids come to the Back to School Carnival?”

“I’m concerned the congregation might take offense at some of my sermon points.”

“How do I know my donation is going where it will do the most good?”

We get so concerned with the results that sometimes we get discouraged or even talk ourselves out of following through. The daily devotional from Walk through the Bible’s Quiet Walk offers us a better perspective:
“God does the work of God and man does the work of man. The work of man is faithfulness to what God has called him; the work of God is results. If we reverse the two, we can drive ourselves to an early grave. If we keep them in line, we can labor with freedom. We need not get puffed up with pride when things go well, nor need we get distressed when things go poorly. . . Our job is faithfulness; God's job is results.”
I like that arrangement. In other words, if God calls us to blog, we are to blog—whether we see visible signs that anyone is reading our posts or not. If God calls us to go pray with a friend, we go pray—despite how many times we have prayed before, and despite not getting the answers we hoped for. If God calls us to offer our neighbor an invitation to put their trust in Jesus, we are simply to open our mouths and share what God has laid on our heart. Their acceptance of that invitation is between them and God. What we do is powerless to bring about change in others. God must step in and bring the outcome He desires.

One of my favorite authors, Grace Livingston Hill, understood this truth and often shared it through the characters in her stories.

  • “Remember, it is His work. You have not to do with the end of it, nor are any results in your hand. . . I always feel comforted to do the work without seeing the results, knowing that God has planned all that out from the beginning, and all I have to do is to execute the little part of the plan which he has entrusted to my hand.”—from A Daily Rate by Grace Livingston Hill
  • “Mine is the doing when God says the word, but his is the bringing to pass. And that, you see, is the end of all worrying and doubt.” –from The Randolphs by Grace Livingston Hill
  • “Her business was to witness. That was all, just witness . . . She could leave the rest with God. She need not worry whether she was accomplishing anything or not. She did not have to accomplish. That was God's part. She was just a witness!" from Blue Ruin, by Grace Livingston Hill

All God asks of us is to be faithful in doing what He calls us to do. The rest is up to Him. Whew! Isn’t this truth freeing?
“It's not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What's important is that God makes the seed grow.”
1 Corinthians 3:7
©2014 Pamela D. Williams