Disclaimer: The following is written by a hypocrite. While I know I am highly valued by God, I still crave affirmation from people.
For the longest time, I prayed that I would have a greater impact for God’s kingdom. I want God to be known and glorified, so when I consider Bible studies or writing- the bigger the better, right? If more people are involved, the effect will be greater, and God will receive more glory. Numbers provide a simple but inaccurate way to measure impact. Receiving appreciation for a task is also a faulty measure of impact. When someone tells me, “Thank you!” or “You really made a difference,” I feel my actions were influential and beneficial. However, if no one appreciates that same action, does that nullify the impact? Of course not, yet I feel affirmed when people appreciate me or numbers blossom. Have I created an idol out of “making a difference?”
What a slippery slope I have fallen down! I put on the thinking of man and left behind the thinking of God. For example, consider the prophet Isaiah. When Isaiah answered the Lord’s call, the Lord told Isaiah even though no one would listen, he was to keep speaking. Year after year, it would appear that Isaiah did not have an impact, yet what was significant is that Isaiah heard God, obeyed and persevered in the task whether Isaiah himself was able discern any change in the people’s hearts or lives.
I think the root of my faulty thinking is the sin of comparison. Since I compare my activities to others, I believe God also compares my impact with that of his other children. I forget God’s ways are so high above my own and that God is as fully pleased with me when I am in my own house doing the things He placed before me as someone who is doing the things He called them to do which reach thousands of people.
I desperately need God to transform my thinking to stop thinking like the world and to perceive things more like He does so I am able to serve joyfully doing mundane tasks without acknowledgement, appreciation or visible impact. God is more interested in the internal than the external. While the tasks I do may not make an impact on the world, my attitude will impact my heart. Am I listening for the Lord’s voice to obey whether I perceive the task as trivial or grand? Is my heart impacted by the tiniest whisper from God? Am I as faithful for five as I would be for five hundred?
Lord, in your strength, I tear down this idol of making and impact and replace it with faith in your ability to fulfill your good and perfect plans no matter what my role.