Do you have big dreams for God?
Do you have big dreams about the impact you want to have for God? Are you eager to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant?” For some of you, those dreams are alive today but haven’t been realized. For others, those dreams have fizzled either because of a season of walking away from God, or unforeseen circumstances that interrupted your life, or you did everything faithfully, but the results you had hoped for didn’t happen.
Other people seem very successful.
We are prone to predict some of the spiritual “greats” who are going to be in heaven on earth — popular speakers, preachers and authors who frequent the stage and transmit messages to our phones through podcasts, videos and social media accounts. Their messages are filling our ears in many good ways, using the internet for good purposes and making more room for God. I follow a few of the famed online and fully believe I will watch their reward be great in the new heaven on earth.
However, I propose we cannot know who the greats will be.
- Our scope is limited.
No matter the size of our social network, we know few souls compared to the number of people on the globe. Compared to every person who has ever lived in history, we know even fewer souls.
- Only God knows hearts.
We can only see a person’s outsides. Though I trust a person’s heart is sincere unless revealed otherwise, people can hide behind good works, selective vulnerability and keep any number of wrongdoings under wraps. Regarding people we know best, we still only know what has been shared or discovered. And we only know what has been shared from the limited and biased perspective of the person who shared it.
The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (Samuel 16:7b) Only God knows all those nuances and hidden matters. He sorts those out, not us.
- Only God knows our source of effort.
Any time we are living a life powered by the “flesh” alone (self-effort or our own strength), our efforts will often look the same as anyone else’s, but the results of our efforts will not be God-infused (unless He does what we do not deserve). “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:19-23)
Only heaven will truly reveal which efforts were done in faith and God-powered. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5)
There must be millions.
There are people all over the globe leaving everything for the cause of Christ who we never hear about — people who have chosen Christ even though that means leaving family, and country and possessions — many of whom are being persecuted. Mark 10:29-31 says such individuals will receive back much more in heaven on earth: “Yes,” Jesus replied, “and I assure you that everyone who has given up house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or property, for my sake and for the Good News, will receive now in return a hundred times as many houses, brothers, sisters, mothers, children, and property—along with persecution. And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
Be careful on Sundays (and any other day).
When we sit in church on Sunday and scan the crowd, our eyes can’t see who will receive 100 times more in heaven on earth. Our eyes pass over those who seem least important even if we don’t mean to do so. The camera lens does not pick the greatest. The greatest are not selected based on appearance, ministry-size, personality, resume, social connections or family name. As Mark 10:29-31 reminds us: And in the world to come that person will have eternal life. But many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.”
Only God knows.
Since we can’t know who is the greatest, it seems best to rid our lives of all comparative thoughts and walk the path God has placed in front of us with no thought of anyone else’s role except for cheering them on in the ways of God, providing support as needed, and praying for us all.
A note from me.
To my brothers and sisters who are living in anonymity and looking or feeling less valued, recognized or “shiny” for Jesus, take heart. I know you can feel peoples’ eyes glossing over you. They can’t see you, but God sees you, dear ones. Your faith is more precious to Him than gold (1 Peter 1:6-7). All who know you are cheering you on, providing support, and praying. You are loved.
Picture Explanation: Life has been quite pressing lately. When I woke up on Saturday morning all I wanted to do was get the grocery shopping over with so I could head to this beautiful place on the planet and walk to break a sweat then find my favorite bench and sit a while. I got to do what I wished, which was His grace. It didn’t have to be.
Father, be with those who long to enjoy beauty like this but it is not possible right now. Be present with all people being battered by war. Wrap your arms around every person being persecuted for their faith. Tend to every person who is sick, in prison, or in a difficult season of life. May Your presence be this beautiful to each of them.
© 2022 by Oaks Ministries. All rights reserved.
Only God knows. Yes, indeed. Love this, Laurie. Love the note from you, personalizing this for the one that feels unseen. Thank you for your words.
I am glad my note blessed you. I wanted it to do so.
Hi, Dear Friend! Thank you for this beautiful reminder of what matters! Faithfulness, integrity, truth, righteousness, mercy, humility, godliness, repentance, steadfastness,
and eyes fixed on the eternal prize. How easy it is to become enamored with what glitters on the outside and to think that is the prize. How easy it is to think we can get away with compromise. We cheat ourselves when we do.
The photos are beautiful. I want to sit on the bench with you some Saturday morning!
This sentence is one I need to hear: How easy it is to become enamored with what glitters on the outside and to think that is the prize. I think the enemy of our souls tries to lure us away with what glitters on the outside. I feel the lure all too often myself.
Regarding joining me on a bench some Saturday morning, that would delight me. I treasure our friendship.