Oct 23, 2015 – I give to God my “right” to see the outcome of my life’s effectiveness, the outcome of my parenting, my job performance, my marriage, my church involvement.
This personal declaration may seem a little bizarre, especially since our business culture thinks in term of goals, outcomes, evaluations, etc. I’m a practical person, maybe tending to the pragmatic at times. Don’t misunderstand, strategy is not a bad thing, since it helps keep the wheels of our economy greased, I suppose. Time/cost analysis, how to get from Point A to Point B in the most efficient way, and all that.
It’s just that God’s point B is generally not the same as ours.
Three hundred men holding pots and firebrands was not Gideon’s idea of an army.
A skinny teenager singing to the sheep on the back forty was not Samuel’s idea of a king.
Most notably, the rugged cross was not Peter’s idea of a victorious Messiah.
Because of this kind of Providential counter-intuitiveness, it’s easy (at least for me) to feel like I’m failing, ineffective, capital “L” for L-o-s-e-r. Thankfully, God’s kingdom thinking transcends our cultural thinking, and His success model is built around obedience, not immediate visible outcomes.
If anyone had a reason to feel ineffective, it would be Jeremiah:
“So Johanan and the other guerrilla leaders and all the people refused to obey the LORD’s command to stay in Judah.”
And that’s at the tail end of Jeremiah’s career as a major prophet to the people of ancient Israel. This part of Jeremiah’s story is just one in a long list of negative outcomes. Can you imagine all those years of “failure” to get the people to turn back to God? Isn’t that what all this was for? Instead, he was hated, ignored, berated, and abused. Definitely not on the top of anybody’s “invite-to-the-Bar Mitzvah” list. This whole prophetic thing was clearly not for the faint of heart.
So back to my decision of October—because it’s not about me feeling successful, comfortable, or affirmed. God’s end point is my obedience, not my outcomes.
And I guess I should consider myself in good company. Jeremiah would not be considered successful by today’s Fortune 700 C.E.O.’s or any political pundits. We’ll never see him mentioned in Forbes. But although Jeremiah didn’t see it coming, somehow God saw fit to include him in an impressive chunk of the Holy Bible.
I figure that outcome speaks for itself.
Jeremiah 43:4 Tyndale House Publishers Inc (2008-06-01). The One Year Bible NLT (One Year Bible: Nlt Book 2) (Kindle Location 35320). Tyndale House Publishers. Kindle Edition.