“Seeing them straining at the oars [and being battered by the waves], for the wind was [contrary to them] at about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea; and He intended to pass by them.” (Mark 6:48)
The apostolic crew rowed, and rowed, and rowed, and it was no fault of theirs that they made no progress, ‘for the wind was contrary unto them.’ The Christian man may make little or no headway, and yet it may be no fault of his, for the wind is contrary. Our good Lord will take the will for the deed, and reckon our progress, not by our apparent advance, but by the hearty intent with which we tug at the oars
– Charles Spurgeon
Far too often the result of ministry is the standard by which Christian men and women declare success or failure. However, according to 1 Corinthians 3:7-8, the result of our ministry has nothing to do with our labors, for it is God who causes the growth. A farmer may plant and water for years to come yet never yield a harvest. Why? Did the farmer fail to labor enough in his field? I contend that the necessary conditions for the yielding of a harvest – all of which are outside of the control of the farmer’s labors – ran contrary to his laborious work. The rain fell not. The soil dried. The roots lacked depth.
There are conditions that we face as Christian men and women that will run contrary to our labors. However, we are called to labor anyways.
Will you labor as you are called, even if there is no tangible result to show for it?
Following Jesus is ultimately a matter of faithfulness and unfaithfulness, not success and failure.