So here we are at the end of January, less than one month into a new year. Have you been weighing yourself?
One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight. But the weighing—that is so much a part of knowing whether we’re succeeding or not—can also be a hammer that can, ironically, keep us from experiencing the very success we hope for.
Here’s how it often plays out for me:
- I set a goal.
- I get myself motivated, by thinking positively of my goals—how I’ll feel, how I’ll look, all the things I can achieve, etc.
- I weigh myself. Success. I’m happy, I’m proud, I’m motivated.
- The next day, I weigh myself. Success. I’m happier, I’m prouder, I’m more motivated.
- The next day, I weigh myself. Success. I’m even happier, I’m even prouder, I’m even more motivated.
- The next day, I weigh myself. Failure. I’m sad, I’m frustrated, I consider that I might never be able to achieve my goal.
But that’s so short-sighted…and doesn’t reveal the truth. The truth is that—although the scale may have gone up a pound, or a half pound, from the previous day—my diligence towards my goal is having a positive effect over time. If I stand back and look at the big picture, I’ll have a much clearer, and more encouraging view of what’s actually taking place. If I just look at that single day, I could easily get sucked into a downward spiral of failure and just give up.
This truth about weight loss can also be applied to our ministries. As ministry leaders, we are motivated and determined, and we put much planning and daily effort into our ministry goals. Sometimes, when we weigh ourselves against our goals, our hopes and our plans, we feel that we are succeeding in doing something meaningful and powerful for the Lord. But then, there are times when we weigh our ministries and find them lacking. And, just as with dieting, these temporary bumps don’t always feel so temporary. It’s easy to feel dejected and defeated. And it’s easy to consider giving up.
But God sees the big picture, and that’s what He wants for us, too.
One of the Bible verses I’m so encouraged by when I feel as if my ministry is lacking, is 2 Corinthians 4:17. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. It’s one of those verses that may be so familiar to us that it almost seems trite. But let’s take a moment to unpack it. Our troubles are light and momentary. That’s not trivializing our problems; it’s putting them into perspective. God is seeing our ministries from His viewpoint and, in sharing this bit of information with us, He’s encouraging us. He’s telling us that, what seems so big and overwhelming and insurmountable to us now, is nothing compared to the eternal glory that far outweighs them all. And, after all, isn’t that why we’re in ministry…because we want eternal glory, for ourselves and for others?
Weighing our ministry’s success against our goals can be a valuable tool to keep us heading in the right direction, but is not the final word on whether we have served God well. He is the Ultimate Authority on that; I will listen to the Truth that’s been revealed to me through the God of the universe, and not a finite scale that only reveals a fleeting moment in time.
So, beyond losing weight, my New Year’s resolution is to live in God’s Truth. Because, whether my scale goes up or down, and whether my ministry is in a season of growth or disappointment, my challenges are momentary. And, in His big picture, it all works together for good, because we love Him.
Blessings in the New Year!
- Streams in the Desert by L. B. Cowman
A Hope and a Future: God’s Provision in Difficult Times by Jack Graham
God Speaks: Finding Hope in the Midst of Hopelessness by Ray Comfort