November 12 I Thursday
“He said, ‘Go tell this people: Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’”
“Here I am. Send me!” This was Isaiah’s response when God asked, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for Us?” (Isaiah 6:8). However, the message God told Isaiah to bring was not a positive one. It was a message of the judgment God was soon to send on His people because of their disobedience; a message Isaiah would have to preach “until the cities lie ruined and without inhabitant, until the houses are left deserted and the fields ruined and ravaged, until the LORD has sent everyone far away and the land is utterly forsaken” (Isaiah 6:11-12).
This is a remarkably depressing commission. There is little hope here, but it tells us something about God’s expectations when we participate with Him in ministry. It is easy to be part of an obviously fruit-bearing ministry, but it takes courage and godliness to minister where we see little to no fruit. We should not expect because God has called us to minister somewhere that we will always see results. Those we minister to might come to Christ years down the road, or maybe never, but God called us to be more concerned with obedience to His calling than whether or not we are successful. It is God who changes the hearts of others, but He wants us to trust Him even when it seems like we are not making progress.
It may appear as though God has sent us into a wilderness, even within our own families, who only seem to be growing harder as we tell them about Jesus. That is okay.When we truly meet with God, we will discover that a successful ministry is not as important as obeying what He says and trusting who He is to bring about His purposes in His timing.
Do not be mistaken, where God works, there will always be some kind of fruit. Even Isaiah’s depressing message held hope. Through Isaiah, God explained that a tenth of the people will remain in the land. That tenth will experience even more pain and hardship, but God revealed that this “holy seed will be the stump in the land” (Isaiah 6:13). In other words, these few who remain faithful to God will one day sprout into new life. They will have to face the judgment Isaiah was prophesying, but they will come out on the other side, serving the Lord. In the same way, we can be thankful even when our ministries are seemingly hopeless and we cannot see any fruit, God is always at work through our obedience to draw others to Him.
Prayer: Lord God, help me not to be discouraged by a lack of positive response in my witness for You. I trust You will bring about fruit in Your timing. Thank You for the opportunity to serve You.