"But I said, 'I have labored to no purpose;
I have spent my strength in vain and for nothing.
Yet what is due me is in the Lord’s hand,
And my reward is with my God.'" (Isaiah 49:4)
This verse really struck me in my quiet time a couple of weeks ago. (I’ve had this post written in my mind since then, but haven’t had time to sit at the keyboard and get it in written form.) It struck me, of course, because I’m very success driven and because too often I derive my self-worth from “my” achievements.
I’ve had several conversations with one person who has been asking how to measure success as a second chair leader. This question recognizes the ambiguities of our roles. After all, children or youth or small group leaders often have tangible results, but a second chair leader is responsible for everything and nothing at the same time.
In these conversations, I’ve been reminded how much I like to measure progress and to be successful - growth in our congregation, people whose lives I’ve impacted, number of books sold! And then God points me back to Isaiah 49:4 and reminds me that these external benchmarks are not the true measure.
Well, there’s my confession. Are you content to trust in God for your reward, even if it seems that you’re laboring to no purpose? How have you dealt with this tension?