I think most of us wonder from time to time if our lives have or are truly making a positive difference within the limited sphere of our influence. Having been involved in quite a variety of Christian ministries since 1975 (not to mention earlier attempts to impact fellow military comrades for Christ), I ponder this one often! For those of us who take our faith seriously, nothing is more important than leaving behind a legacy of effectiveness for the Kingdom of God.
I must admit that I, perhaps too often, question whether I’ve made much difference; there have been too many times when I’ve poured my heart into something (e.g., a sermon, guitar playing, act of kindness, etc.) hoping to hear,
“Wow Chuck, that was such a blessing; so timely and relevant!” or to see a life significantly impacted — but there was no response, no visible change — period.
Well, seems like every time I question my impact the Lord counters with something from Scripture, a quote, a story, etc. For instance, several years ago I came across a quote from F.B. Meyer that I still turn to when discouraged: “Do not look for success or dread failure. Go on day by day fulfilling the task of the day and leaving the results with God.”
Recently I came across this quote from Martin Luther: “If you perhaps look for praise and would sulk or quit what you are doing if you did not get it — if you are of that stripe, dear friend — then take yourself by the ears, and if you do this in the right way, you will find a beautiful pair of big, long, shaggy donkey ears!”
Oops…Let’s face it: Most of us pass through this life pretty much unheard of, unknown (like the hundreds of people listed in the genealogies of I Chronicles!).
Example: You would be amazed at the thousands of incredibly powerful, Spirit-filled sermons preached by both Confederate and Union chaplains during the Civil War, messages delivered by servants of God that nobody has ever even heard of!
No, we may not have widespread effects for good and for God, but if we will daily consecrate ourselves unto Him, we will be used and we will be pleasing to Him; our efforts are seen by and mean much to the Lord. Let’s not forget that success, in God’s economy, is never measured by accomplishments but by our faithfulness to Him.