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Time Out: God rewards faithfulness more than fruitfulness

Topic / Time Out

Time Out (by Jerry Schmoyer)
Trying to minister for God can be difficult. Just ask Isaiah or Jeremiah or even John the Baptist. Ministering to teens can be even more difficult since they are going through transitions and changes without the maturity they will later attain, so results can be slim. It’s easy to make a splash that seems to full of activity and excitement, but we all know that real change deep in a person’s heart is sometimes a slow process. Often seeds are planted but the results don’t show until years after the teens leave the youth group and move on in life. Discouragement, that often-used weapon of the enemy, can become a constant companion. God, in His mercy, does allow us to see glimpses of change in the lives we touch and that’s great. Often it seems that no one really understands or appreciates what we do except our mates and they often have their own struggles to deal with. It’s important to remember that God knows what we strive to do, even if it doesn’t always seem to succeed. We know in our minds that God just wants us to be faithful in what we do and leave the results to Him. It is His job to change hearts and lives, not ours. We are to faithfully serve, to minister for Him. That’s what He looks at -– our faithfulness. God doesn’t compare us with each other (thankfully!), He just compares us with ourselves. If we are doing our best to faithfully serve Him then He is thrilled with us. God doesn’t evaluate us by the results we produce but by the faithfulness of our service. After all, the servant with two talents received the same “Well done” from the master as the servant with ten! Anyone can serve God when things are going great, but to faithfully serve when we don’t see the results brings greater pleasure to God and reward to us. Write that on a piece of paper and put it over your desk: “God evaluates me by my faithfulness more than my fruitfulness.”

Scripture
Matthew 25:19-23, “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ “The man with the two talents also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.’ “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!'”

Reflect

  • Are you evaluating your effectiveness by the fruit of your ministry?
  • Are you discouraged with what external outcomes you can observe?
  • Thank God for not appraising your effectiveness by visible results but by your faithfulness.
  • Remember those in your own past who faithful service influenced you. Perhaps a thank-you to them would be greatly appreciated.
  • Recommit yourself to faithfully serve Him even when there are no visible results.

Jerry Schmoyer has been a minister in Pennsylvania for over 25 years and has worked with teenagers for 14 years now, ever since I became one myself. He authors the weekly Time Out series here at Life in Student Ministry in hopes to spiritually refresh your soul as you continually pour so much of yourself into students. God bless!


Posted on January 6, 2008

  • I just want the author of this article to know how much it blessed me to find this in my e-mail today. I’ve struggled often with so many of the feelings he writes about and more recently have embraced this core truth of FAITHFULNESS over FRUITFULNESS. Although I believe fruitfulness is important, I was even thinking yesterday, that my BEING is more important than my DOING. And I think being a man or woman of God and faithfully serving God means more to His heart than all the work and events and programs and ministry we could muster. Thanks again for this awesome encouragement!

  • Renee`

    Jerry:
    I just came upon your site today and it has been a pure blessing from God. This article spoke to me loud and clear as I have been struggling with my effectiveness in youth ministry. Than you and thank Tim for posting this.
    God’s warmest blessings to you…

    Renee`

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