"I can never really know anything until I open my mouth about what I know. My knowledge grows as I impart it to others."
~ Pastor Joe Cortese, Crossroads Tabernacle, the Bronx
We all like to hear success stories, don’t we? We like to itemize our achievements and feel good about our accomplishments.
But we must remember that this world is not our home. We are citizens of God’s Kingdom. We should hold up our lives against God’s standards and not use the world’s principles.
When I’m here in the States, people often ask questions like –
“Do you feel like you’re making a difference in Kenya?”
This is what I know -
God told me to go to Kenya, so I went. He told me to love my neighbor; I am doing that.
Success stories or making a difference should not be my goal. Meeting needs should never become my motive.
Oswald Chambers says, “Never seek after anything other than the approval of God.”
Many years ago, Elisabeth Elliot and her husband were missionaries in Ecuador. After he was speared to death by the people to whom God had sent them, she stayed on and continued to obey God’s assignment. In one of her many books, she addressed this issue –
“Results cannot be the criterion for whether or not what we do is worthwhile. It’s hopeless to try to weigh up the good, the bad, the futile, and the merely harmless, and hope there will be enough of the good to justify all the rest. Jesus told us to do what is true and that needs no justification or defense.”Jesus said in John 17:4 –
“I glorified you on earth by completing down to the last detail what you assigned me to do.”
Listen again to the wise words of Oswald Chambers –
“The great danger is that God’s call will be replaced by the needs of people, to the point that human sympathy will absolutely overwhelm the meaning of being sent by Him. The needs are so enormous, and the conditions so difficult, but the goal is to be true to Him - to carry out His commands.”As you love your neighbor - especially the unlovable ones - don’t try to fix them or meet their needs. Don’t try to make a difference or look for success stories.
Just love them. Love them unconditionally.
Stay close to God’s heart and don’t concern yourself with making a list of accomplishments. Simply let the results be what they may.
In so doing, you will bring God great pleasure. And may each one of us hear the Father say – "Well done, good and faithful servant."
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I gave this brief talk at Crossroads Tabernacle on Sunday, September 20th. Three days later, there was another Oswald Chambers reading on the same subject:
The goal of the missionary is to do God’s will, not to be useful or to win the lost.
A missionary is useful and he does win the lost, but that is not his goal.
His goal is to do the will of his Lord.
On Sunday, September 27, I shared briefly at Christ Church in Lucketts, Virginia. Along with an introduction about myself and how God called me to Kenya, I also included these thoughts about measuring success.
Hmm... it certainly does seem to be a recurring theme.
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[Click here to read a previous blog post on this same subject: 12 years in Kenya; can we measure success in doing God's work?]