I’m in the process of writing another book; as I finish the draft of each chapter, I’ve been sharing it with a supportive and eager-to-learn group of students. They get up an hour early on Sunday morning in order to attend my class before going to the church service. For their faithful presence, their diligence in doing homework, and their wholehearted participation in our discussions, I am extremely grateful.
This week, my class is not meeting. I’m glad for the break because, as usual, the task that I set for myself (completing a chapter every week) is more difficult and will take longer than I expected. According to my class syllabus, I am scheduled to share the final chapter of my book on December 4th and celebrate that accomplishment on December 11th.
Will I successfully meet my deadline? As it stands now, because I’m taking a week off, the celebration date will be Dec. 18th. What will it take for me to be successful? And what will true success look like? Could there be something more important than meeting my deadline?
- What do I usually focus on? Success!
- What does God focus on? Faithfulness!
Faithfulness is a process. Faithfulness is about small unnoticed things—day-by-day, reliability, attention to details, accuracy. It’s about the action that I take. It’s about consistency. It’s about following through.
Success is a result. Success is about big splashy things—parties, honor, rewards. It’s about commendation—receiving credit for completing something.
Faithfulness is more important than success, because if we do the process (follow the steps, carry out the strategies) we will find success. But if we do not give attention to the process, we will not find success.
When I am focusing on success, I often think that I need more information. Usually, I do not need more information. I just need more action. I need to do something with the information that I already have.
At the end of the day, I like to look at my accomplishments. But at the end of my earthly life (according to the parables which Jesus taught. See Matthew 25), God will look at my faithfulness and commend me for that. I want to hear him say, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”
What will it take for that to happen? It will take a shift in my focus. I’ve been doing things, backwards. Instead of measuring my success, I need to check-out my faithfulness. If I am faithful, I will be successful. However, true success—accomplishing the things that God has called me to do—may not be what I initially imagined it to be.
Questions for you to prayerfully consider
- Which do you tend to focus on—your faithfulness or your success?
- Which do you need more of—information or action?
- How could you best use the information that you already have to accomplish the things God has called you to do?