Summary: How do you measure success? The world may measure success by profit, prosperity, or prestige. God measure success by our faithfulness. How faithful are you to God?
Are you successful today? What measure do you use to measure success? The world may measure success by profit - how much are you earning? By prosperity - what do you own? By prestige - how high are you in the corporate ladder?
How does God measure success? We’ll see from scriptures that God measure success by faithfulness. How faithful are you to God?
· Faithfulness is not a virtue appreciated much today. We see that in marriages - relationship between spouse. In scholarships, breaking of bonds. Why should we remain faithful?
God wants us to be faithful to what He has called us to do. He is not going to measure you based on how many converts you have, how many years have your served the church, how great things have you done… These are all important, and we want them. But growth comes from God Himself. God wants to see our faithfulness.
Paul was experiencing some difficulty with his ministry in church in Corinth. If we go by popularity and numbers, Paul’s ministry at Corinth does not seem to be very successful. People are judging him, but listen to what he tells them: "I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. 4My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me." (1 Cor 4:3-4)
True success is not to be measured in terms of what man can see, but in terms of what God sees. "My judge," says Paul, "is not man or even myself, but God."
And how will God judge me? He said it in the first few verses: 1 Cor 4:1-2
So then, men ought to regard us as servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God. Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.
In other words, the important thing for us is to be faithful… faithful to God and the work God has entrusted to us.
Noticed the words Paul uses: we are "servants" of Christ; "entrusted" with a message of salvation; and "given a trust".
These words describing the work of a steward (or slaves). It is not our culture today but the people of Corinth understood immediately what Paul was saying - A steward was a confidential slave to whom the master entrusted his affairs. He was a administrator of the master’s household, but still a slave of the master. Although he has great responsibility, he is always and in everything, accountable to the Master. Both he (slave) and his work belongs to the master.
It is a description of you and me.
· We are redeemed of the Lord. We belong to Him. He is our Lord and Master, for He redeemed us by His blood and this life comes from Him.
· And He has given us all a trust - a work. The most basic one is the great commission - to share the Gospel. All of us have different calling. Some called to be pastors, some teachers, some evangelists… but whatever it is, it is God’s work and we are his servants.
WHEN THE WIND BLOWS
A young man applied for a job as a farmhand. When the farmer asked for his qualifications, he said, "I can sleep when the wind blows." This puzzled the farmer. But he liked the young man, and hired him.
A few days later, the farmer and his wife were awakened in the night by a violent storm. They quickly began to check things out to see if all was secure. They found that the shutters of the farmhouse had been securely fastened. A good supply of logs had been set next to the fireplace. The young man slept soundly.
The farmer and his wife then inspected their property. They found that the farm tools had been placed in the storage shed, safe from the elements. The barn was properly locked. Even the animals were calm. All was well.
The farmer then understood the meaning of the young man’s words, "I can sleep when the wind blows." Because the farmhand did his work loyally and faithfully when the skies were clear, he was prepared for the storm when it broke. So when the wind blew, he was not afraid. He could sleep in peace.
There was nothing dramatic or sensational in the young boy’s preparations – he just faithfully did what was needed each day. Consequently, peace was his, even in a storm. Paul says "Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful."
Look at a parable Jesus told and we would understand better - Matt 25:14ff. Faithfully using what the Master has entrusted to you.