by Mindy Ferguson
I confess that as a Christian writer, there have been times when I have been discouraged as I watched for measurable signs of success rather than choosing to simply write as God leads. In our results oriented society, where job promotions and public accolades are won by meeting tangible objectives, it’s difficult to accept that faithfulness to God and our calling is success.
In other words, regularly blogging messages God places upon your heart is success, regardless how many followers are listed or comments are posted. Prayerfully declining an opportunity to write an article for a trade magazine is success if it would distract you from completing a script that you feel compelled to write.
I recently studied the prophet Isaiah’s call to ministry. Interestingly, when the Lord commissioned Isaiah as a prophet, He made it clear that Isaiah’s messages would fail to bring repentance or healing in Israel. The prophet appeared to be a bit distraught by the Lord’s bleak assessment of his ministry results:
Then Isaiah said, “For how long, O Lord?” And the Lord answered: “Until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the Lord has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken. And though a tenth remains in the land, it will again be laid waste. But as the terebinth and oak leave stumps when they are cut down, so the holy seed will be the stump in the land (Isa. 6:11-13 NIV).”
Wow! Not exactly the type of motivational message one might expect when being commissioned for the Lord’s work. It seems logical that if Isaiah was doing what God had ordained him to do, his ministry would produce desirable results. After all, if we are obedient, shouldn’t we expect success?
But Isaiah was to measure his success by his obedience, not by results. Sadly, conditions in Israel declined despite everything the Lord had Isaiah do and say. God works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will (Eph. 1:11) and He was at work through Isaiah.
Isaiah was told that a “holy seed” would remain in Israel. The Lord said that remnant would be like a deeply rooted stump that remains after all the trees on a piece of property are cut down. By God’s divine work and plan, that stump that remained eventually produced the Seed, which is Jesus Christ, who was born to save not only the nation of Israel—but all nations.
When we faithfully deliver messages God calls and equips us to write, we too are successful in the eyes of our Lord. That means we shouldn’t be discouraged by what we perceive to be a lack of results. God is always at work and He is able to bring about results in His way and in His time. We never know what “holy seed” might be planted through our writing. Our God measures our success by our faithful obedience.
Mindy Ferguson speaks nationally at women’s events and has been involved in women’s ministry for years, teaching Bible studies, writing curriculum, and coordinating special events. Mindy is the author of Hugs Bible Reflections for Women (Howard Books) and the in-depth Bible study, Walking with God: From Slavery to Freedom; Living the Promised Life (Hensley Publishing). She lives in a suburb of Houston, Texas with her husband of twenty-three years and their two children.