“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
- Isaiah 55:8-9
“After the journey of writing my first book, Quiet Strength, God impressed upon me and Nathan that His measurement of success has little to do with sales numbers. We were blessed to have great numbers, but that’s not what made the book a success in God’s eyes. God’s scorecard is different from ours. He judges not by money, statistics, or fame, but by the state of our hearts and our desire to serve Him.
“God calls us to be faithful, not ‘successful.’ He calls us to follow the dreams He has put in our hearts. The outcomes of those dreams may look successful in worldly terms, or they may not. They may look futile. We may not see any external results at all, or at least not for a few years. We may not see any lives that our dreams have changed—or notice how our own hearts have changed in the process. Our commitment and persistence, even if others admire us for those attitudes, may not seem to be paying off. But if we are faithful, God notices. And He calls that success.
“Real success often happens behind the scenes, and only God can measure it accurately. The only thing that’s really important is that His purposes are accomplished. He wants hearts to change—including ours—and lives to be impacted, even when those results aren’t visible to anyone. His Work is done deep inside. Our job is to be faithful; His job is to accomplish results.
“Trust God to bear fruit in your life however He chooses to. Don’t sell yourself or your dreams short. Be persistent in accomplishing whatever He has placed in your heart. Your diligence, persistence, and commitment to His purposes are the keys that define success.”
- Tony Dungy and Nathan Whitaker, The One Year Uncommon Life (devotion for 26 January)
Tony Dungy was the first black football coach to win the Super Bowl. He is also a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And his books have done well also. He knows what earthly success is.
Yet, he is correct when talking about God’s measure of our success. After all, God’s success is each soul that turns to God. If I never obtained earthly success in terms of Tony Dungy kind of success, I am satisfied with that.
But as C. S. Lewis said, I would feel tormented if there was one person that God wished me to help, and I failed in doing so. God’s will must be done, but I need to be available.
If you are in a rowboat race, you cannot win unless your oar is in the water.
But relying upon your God-given talent alone is not going to get you there either. With God being within us as true believers, God can do amazing things, but we think that our abilities are the star of the show, and we step forward to amaze everyone else.
But we have a purpose to glorify God. To do that, we must rely upon God within us instead of what we think God gave us in the way of talents. Once we are in the mindset of glorifying God, then our God-given talents may have a place. But sometimes our best efforts in glorifying God comes when we had no idea that we could do what we just did. Nothing crazy or thrill seeking. It might be sitting down and talking to someone about Jesus, but if anyone becomes amazed, it will be us.
Because, maybe for the first time ever, we realize that it was not our God-given talent, but God within us that formed that success.
And I know from firsthand experience that when you realize that God has used you in that way, there is no better feeling in this world, maybe because the power to get it done was not of this world.
God can move mountains, but how many mountains do we have inside us that God must move before He can burst forth and do amazing things through us?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.