In his sonnet “When I Consider How my Light is Spent,” John Milton says, “…They also serve who only stand and wait.” It doesn’t mean that we should sit around all day every day, but there are times when we wait on God to do His part after we do our part. The boy who brought his lunch to hear Jesus preach on the mountain couldn’t feed the multitude without Jesus blessing it first, but he did have to pack his lunch. We do our part and let God bless it, and it will feed a multitude. Our lunch alone will feed us if we are lucky, but it probably won’t satisfy us. We need God’s touch…his blessing…or it is to no avail.
We live in a culture of “Make it happen.” We are supposed to get out there and hustle to make our dreams come true. It is especially true in a writing career. There are countless books on how to write a best-selling book, or how to market, or how to use social media. The truth is no one can really predict what books will go “viral.” The “success” of a book is really up to God. Our part is to write our book to the best of our ability, and to put in the work required, and then leave it in God’s hands.
The same is true of ministry. If God puts something on our heart to do, we should do it to the best of our ability, but God determines the success. He also determines the definition of success. His goal may have been a Vacation Bible School to reach one child for Christ, or to plant seeds alone. That is success even if we have no numbers to report to the congregation or association.
I think we need to redefine the word success so that we merely seek to fulfill God’s call and be obedient to His Word. After that, we have to leave it in His capable hands, knowing He will do what is best. It is not ours to “make it happen.” It is ours to be obedient. It is His to bless as He will.