JUST A MINUTE: MEASURING SUCCESS IN 2021
by Gustav Krös
It does not matter who you are, but I believe it is safe to say 2020 did not turn out the way you expected it would. All of us who had the privilege to live through 2020 encountered a year like no other before it. We all had to cancel meetings, travel plans, holidays, and learn to adapt to an ever-changing world. There were many disappointments along the way, and also many lessons to learn.
The one lesson we were all taught in a very practical way in 2020 is best summarised in James 4:13-17: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’ As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” (NIV)
The year 2020 showed us that the only thing we can be sure of is today, and still, we do not even know how today will end. I believe this is the one lesson we need to engrave in our lives if we want to make a success of 2021 – to acknowledge that all I have is today, and the only desire I should have for today is to be obedient to the Lord’s will.
I remember the first time I was taught this lesson. It was about 10 years ago, and I was part of a group who were being trained by a seasoned missionary with regards to ministry to the homeless. The missionary asked us: “How do you measure the success of your ministry work?” He went on to question whether we measure our level of success by the worldly standard of numbers? Since the specific ministry focussed on the homeless, he asked us whether we would measure a successful evening out on the streets according to the number of hot meals we handed out, or whether we would measure it according to the number of people we shared the Gospel with?
He then went on to tell us that the world chases after numbers, and the only thing we should be chasing after is the will of God. He said it did not matter how many people we serve in an evening or how many people we shared the Gospel with, or how many people accepted Christ. The only thing we should measure our success by is whether, at the end of the night, we had peace that we were obedient to every prompting of the Holy Spirit and that the Lord’s will had been done through us on that night. Whether we handed out 10 meals or 100 meals, and whether we spoke to 10 people or 100 people, our success should be measured according to our obedience.
That specific training was focused on ministry to the homeless, but it is true for every Christian, every day of his/her life. It does not matter whether you are in fulltime ministry or work a regular nine-to-five job, the Lord requires our obedience in order for His will to be done in our lives. In 1 Samuel 15:22, we read the following: “But Samuel replied: ‘Does the Lord delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams.’”
We cannot afford to run the risk of postponing our obedience to the Lord. It remains a gamble to say, I will change my life tomorrow, and I will start being obedient tomorrow because you do not know what tomorrow might bring if you are not obedient today.
As we enter 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage in full force, and nobody knows whether 2021 is going to be better, the same, or even worse than 2020. The only thing one can be sure of is today, and if one wants to make a success of today, one needs to be able to rest one’s head at the end of the day with peace in one’s heart that you were obedient to the will of the Lord that day. Obedient to His commandments in the Bible, and obedient to every prompting of the Holy Spirit throughout the day.
We might not know what 2021 will bring, but if one can fill the year with 365 days of obedience to the Lord’s will, then it does not matter what happens, it will be a successful year.
Image: Unsplash/William Iven
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