Now that my book is published and available for purchase (you can do that here), it’s a peculiar feeling. I had spent a lot of time crafting it into what became the final product. I believe that God gave me a vision for the book, and I tried my best to stay true to it. Ultimately, I felt called to write a book that encouraged others through the truth that God unequivocally loves them. I’m confident that I did that.
As I was sitting here a couple days ago thinking about what my hopes for the book are, I began to dream. I know that the book is selling, although I don’t know how many copies yet. I have received encouraging and positive feedback for what I wrote. Like I often do, my thoughts for what I wanted the book to become soared far above the clouds. Then, I decided to bring myself back down to earth. I said the cliché phrase to myself, “If it impacts one person’s life, then I’ve done what I was called to do.”
Feeling smug and spiritually superior (to whom, I don’t know), I felt the Holy Spirit speak to my heart in that still, small voice. He said to me, “It’s not about what happens now; it’s about doing what you were called to do.” That made me stop and think, and it resonated with me for far more than just my book.
We all tend to base our success on following our callings on if it went the way we hoped. We place ourexpectations on what we think it should look like and use that as our litmus test. God has never been results-driven, even though our faith often is.
Think about the Great Commission that happens in Matthew 28. In verses 19 and 20, Christ gives the universal call to all his followers:
“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you.”
At any point does Jesus say how many disciples need to be made for it to be a success? Does he tell the disciples that they have to achieve at least a 50% conversion rate? Of course, he doesn’t. That’s because God doesn’t count our faithfulness based on how others react to it. Our faith is demonstrated simply in the going and doing.
Think back to the Old Testament, if you will. I don’t think anyone would question whether or not the prophets (Elijah, Isaiah, Ezekiel, etc.) were extremely faithful. However, their messages, which came from God, were not received well at all. In fact, many of them were killed for doing what God called them to do. Think about all the instances where the disciples were imprisoned, run out of towns, beaten, and killed. Then, there’s the ultimate example: Jesus. His steadfastness is unquestionable. He preached, healed, and served thousands upon thousands in Israel and the surrounding area. Yet, he was killed with only 120ish followers (Acts 1:15).
Did any of those people fail? Not at all. Their success was in doing what God called them to do with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength. It wasn’t about the numbers. They (aside from Jesus) were not tasked with changing lives. We cannot change anyone’s lives; we are not that powerful. That is up to the Holy Spirit to do. God will use us, though, as a catalyst for the Spirit to work in and on the hearts of others. It’s not about the results; it’s about being true to do whatever it is that you are called to do.
While I would love for my book to sell thousands of copies and to spark a worldwide revival, that’s not up to me. I did what I set out to do and what God called me to do. As far as writing that book (there may be more to come), my job is finished. Yes, there is still work to do with marketing and publicizing (not my favorite part), but the book is written and is in God’s hands. I was faithful to my call. If I don’t sell another copy, that doesn’t change that fact.
We all need to take on that mindset. We all just need to focus on doing what we’re called to do and leave the rest up to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. They are so much better at impacting the lives of others than we will ever be. Even if it doesn’t turn out the way you expect it to, that doesn’t negate that you were persistent, committed, and devoted to running the race that God has set out for you. The results are not in your hands; they’re in the hands of the one who created this world. His are far more capable than ours.
So, go all out. Give it everything you got. Whatever you feel that God has placed on your heart to do, give it 100%. Then, once you’ve crossed that finish line, know that your Heavenly Father is there to tell you, “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21). At that point, take a little break, get a little rest, and embrace the love that God offers to you. Before you know it, you’ll be back out there following him down another path that he will use to bring himself glory and call his sons and daughters into salvation. Our calling is to go and do– nothing more, nothing less.