Whenever a relationship or task hasn't worked out for me, it's because I tried to control the outcome. I can't think of any exceptions.
The lesson learned, for which I'm repeatedly enrolled in involuntary remedial training, is found in 1 Corinthians 4:2, "Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful."
Notice that it's not, "must be found successful."
This begs the question, "What does faithful look like?"
Two servants were given different amounts to invest while their Master was away, one five talents and the other two. Both doubled what they had, even though the second servant wasn't as successful from the human perspective.
It didn't matter. From God's perspective, both had only been entrusted with "a few things."
What does matter is that the "less successful" servant was faithful. Result? They both received the same reward. They both heard those words every Christian longs to hear:
"Well done, you good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things. I will make you ruler over many things. Enter the joy of your master" (Matt. 25:21 and 23).
Add these three ideas together:
1. What happens when we try to control the outcome
2. The question, "What does faithful look like?"
3. The knowledge that God doesn't reward us based on the amount of our success
Here's where we end up:
God calls us to be faithful, not to produce a particular outcome.
Every January, our Bible study leaders must sign a new job description and self-assess how they did the previous year. There's a blank in front of each of nine major responsibilities. They write a number in each blank—4 for very faithful, 3 for mostly faithful, 2 for somewhat faithful, 1 for not faithful. Notice that it's not "successful."
Our job is to be faithful. God's job is to produce particular outcomes.
In the kingdom of God, faithfulness is success.
Patrick Morley is the founder of Man in the Mirror Ministries. For the original article, visit patrickmorley.com.
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