Wednesday, April 9, 2008
If a tree...
If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? well...?
If a man speaks and no woman hears him is he still wrong? Of course! :) (sorry guys!)
If a person forwards an email to exactly 11 people in the next 5 minutes, will they receive an unexpected blessing? Not a chance.
If a person serves the Lord faithfully and yet sees no apparent success from their endeavors, is the Lord honored? Absolutely!
Isaiah is in this very situation and he laments "But all my work seems so useless! I have spent my strength for nothing and to no purpose at all." (Isaiah 49:4) Do you hear the slight whine in his voice masking his frustration and defeat? Sure you do, if you've been in that situation, you're hearing it just like I am.
In many, many areas we labor and don't see the reward we expect to: we do the work and someone else gets the credit, we're faithful in our responsibilities yet someone who never seems to care lives an easier life than ours, we're diligent in the daily stuff yet it just needs to be redone, sometimes even sooner than the next day!
I've discovered that cleaning my house is not a good thing for me because it makes me very crabby like "Don't put your book bag down there. Get those shoes off the couch! Don't even think about leaving that newspaper looking like that!! Where do you think you're going with that crumbly cookie?!!" I told my kids today that I am going to ban them from the house after I clean...seriously, come see my living room, you wouldn't believe how much better it looked four hours ago!
But what about the last question? What about the service we render faithfully to our God in both big and small ways; be your delineation that of "minister" or "lay person"?
What if you taught and shared God's love for six years and before a single person came to Christ? Wouldn't that feel like failure to you? This was Adoniram Judson's story and yet at his death 32 years later there were sixty-three churches in Burma, under the care of one hundred and sixty-three missionaries and helpers, and over seven thousand converts had been baptized, and the entire Bible had been translated into Burmese. But Adoniram did not know that was what was in store for him as he labored without any success for those first six years, yet, he continued.
Isaiah reached a similar conclusion. After he told God how he felt about his lack of success he says " Yet, I leave it all in the Lord's hand; I will trust God for my reward."
Easy to say, when you can look around and see that your service has made a difference: harder to verbalize when, no matter how impassioned and diligent your service, nothing seems to have changed.When we come before our Lord these are the words we long for Him to say over our lives "Well done, thou good and faithful servant. (Matthew 25:23).
Not "great job you brought a lot of people with you", or "You wrote 15 books and a video series", nor " 30,000 people heard you preach in the Astro dome, way to go!"
No, what is valued in God's eyes is our faithfulness and we leave the rest of it, where it already lies, in His hands.