ARISE: Finding Success in Faithfulness Not Outcomes
This past summer I was asked to be part of a “plant” for my church.
Every Tuesday I would help run an event in a trendy area of downtown Dallas. I started this endeavor with big hopes of where I would go and what God was going to do through me. Part of me selfishly thought I would be successful if the downtown plant produced fruit. As the hot summer weeks passed by I found myself having conversations with different guys each week. I would connect, engage and get meals with them but never saw anyone really open up and never really went “deep” with anyone.
On one occasion I actually gave a guy his first bible and encouraged him to read the book of John. I saw him the next week and he had not made any progress in reading. We agreed to get lunch. He canceled on me. Twice. After that he never wanted to engage in a deeper conversation.
This made me start to process through what it means to be a “success.”
Some say you’re successful if someone hears the gospel, others point toward spiritual growth or learning new skills. But I don’t believe those matter as much as we think. I decided that my summer was a success for one simple reason:
I was faithful.
In Romans 16 Paul finishes his letter by listing out a group of people who are being sent to Rome. If you just skim this chapter it will look like it’s a boring list of names, but there is so much more to it. In studying the history of Rome you will learn that Christianity exploded followed by widespread persecution shortly after Paul finished this letter. How do you think the first Roman missionaries listed in chapter 16 felt when they left their job, comforts and community to faithfully follow Christ to the world power of that time?
What was going through their minds as they were likely being killed for sharing his faith?
Were they a success? Yes.
Did it feel that way as they were being murdered? I hope so.
We see another example of this in Hebrews 11:13 when the author writes:
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.”
This summer I learned to show up, give my Tuesday night to Christ, and seek to love people as I have been loved by Christ. I saw that this can never be done with my own strength. I saw what it means to be completely self-scarified. I saw that the outcome is not a measure of Gods love or blessing.
So, whether you are a success or not really depends on your attitude.
Has your heart been faithful? I am learning not to seek a certain outcome and to be faithful regardless of the perceived outcome. I am seeking obedience over outcome. And in that I find success.
Frank Colarusso is striving to daily lay down his life and follow Christ. As recovering foodie, when he isn’t taking full advantage of creation at summer camp he can be found serving the church in Dallas, Texas. Follow him on Instagram at @SPEAKINGQUITEFRANKLY.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.