Remember the story of the master’s three servants who were each given some talents to work with? In Matthew 25 you have three guys. One was given five talents, another two, and the last one was given one. The first two went off and doubled their talents. Notice that while one of the two ends up with ten, and the other only ends up with four, the master’s response is still the same. “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
I think this is harder for us to swallow than we realize. We live in a world where numbers set the score. If someone has bigger results then they should receive greater rewards. We base the success of our faithfulness off of the results of that faithfulness.
I think this issue is exceptionally applicable in sharing the gospel. We are all called to share the gospel with others. We remain faithful to God when we share the gospel. However, we fall into the trap of determining the success of our faithfulness based off of whether or not people get saved. I struggled with this lesson in Kenya.
The majority of our time there was evangelizing to others. I liked that because often the gospel is an afterthought on mission trips like it is for many people in regular life. However, it became easy to grow discouraged when after two days you didn’t see a single conversion. Others watched God move in the lives of people, and accept Christ as their savior. However, my translator and I seemed to be constantly running into some incredibly rocky soil. I struggled in wanting to be faithful to God as the trip went on.
I struggled with faithfulness because in my heart I only wanted to be faithful if I received my own desired results. I wanted the prestige of being a part of another’s salvation. I wanted to be uplifted. I wanted to be a part of that experience. In the end my faithfulness to God was all wrapped up in me. Faithfulness to God that is focused on self isn’t really true faithfulness.
God calls us to remain faithful. There is nothing that should be added to that statement. We should not be faithful based off of desired results. This is because God is the only one in control of those results. When we expect certain results from sharing the gospel we believe that we personally affect the outcome. In the end we find ourselves trying to play God. Do not be discouraged when someone refuses the gospel after you share it with them.
When we fear what we consider the failed results of our faithfulness, then we cease to be faithful at all. This is what happened to the third servant of the master. He was so afraid he might “fail” that he did nothing. He simply stood still. The church is full of Christians who have stood still for so long in faithfulness for fear of what they consider failure.
We have only been called to be the messenger. God is the one who brings conviction, healing, and redemption. We do not fail when someone rejects the message. We only fail when we refuse to give the message in the first place. This is what I had to learn in Kenya. Even though we received one closed door after another, my translator and I strived to remain faithful to God.
God opened some doors after I learned this lesson. Once I did not place my faithfulness on desired results that lead to pride, I was able to see God work in the hearts of others. I saw the power of his gospel change the lives of others. I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I could leave their knowing that I had remained faithful. Not faithful based off of the results of the week, but faithful because I did what the Lord asked of me.
True faithfulness is brought by dependence on God. Flawed faithfulness is rooted from independence. What are your thoughts? Feel free to share in the comments.