Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men. Colossians 3:23 (ESV)
I have a couple of “projects” on my plate. I reference them like that because some of it is work related, one of the things is something God put on my heart a long time ago and some of it is ministry related. It feels like some days…okay a lot of days….that I keep working and working at this stuff and it is stuck. Nothing happens to move it forward. Honestly, some days it feels like I am walking backwards!
One day as I was praying I said to God “If this isn’t going to work, if it’s not going to move forward and we are just going to stay stuck here, why am I even working on this?”
And into my brain flashed the Bible text “Whatsoever you do, do it with all your might.” (Ecclesiastes 9:10) That was quickly followed by “Even if you don’t think it is going to be successful.”
I had to ponder that for a minute. In our worldly perception, you don’t work on something if it doesn’t look like you are going to succeed. You keep working until you can see if it is going to be successful or not and if not, you stop. We are taught that everything has to be successful based on what we see happening.
But I think God defines success differently.
As I continued to reflect on this, I started thinking about what happens to us as we continue to put all of our might into something that may or may not work. First, we develop this incredible work ethic. It’s hard to get up every day and work at something you are unsure will pan out. We also begin to fine-tune the processes and learn to be satisfied with the work accomplished today and leave tomorrow in God’s hands. We demonstrate faithfulness in small things. We grow in perseverance, character and hope. All of this refining is happening while we are continuing to do our best when we want to give up.
But there is more. The other thing that changes is the perceptions of those around us. As the people in our world watch us continue to do our very best, they see Jesus reflected in our behaviors. As we don’t take shortcuts to make it easier, as we don’t hurt others to grow our bottom line, as we wait patiently for God to move, those things leave impressions about the God we serve. The changes in us and the perceptions of others are immeasurable.
Do I like feeling stuck? Nope. Do I wish things would break loose and move forward? Yep. But for now God is saying “It’s not time yet.” So for today, I will continue to bring my A-game to this day. I will continue to keep working at the last things God gave me to do. In the end, when it all unfolds, he will be glorified.