I have a framed quotation hanging over my desk at work that says, “Effort is no substitute for results,” that perfectly expresses my professional philosophy. No matter how hard you are working, if you aren’t getting positive results you are just spinning your wheels.
I have taken that same guiding thought into women’s ministry. The effort expended should show measurable results or we should be expending our energies elsewhere.
Another of my driving principals in ministry, however, is the value and power of authentic motivation.
How do I reconcile those seemingly opposing concepts?
The solution came to me on my morning walk. I was thinking about my weekly video visit with my kids in Italy and feeling so grateful to God for his gifts of technology that let me hear Angela tell me about her favorite game at recess, share virtual kisses and cookies with 15 month-old Sophia and watch 2 month-old Julia smiling in her sleep. Wishing they could come to be with me I thought of how their dual citizenship makes trips to this country simpler.
My granddaughters are citizens of Italy by virtue of being born there. They are US citizens because their father, my son, is American.
As Christians, we all have dual citizenship, as well. We are citizens of the material world by virtue of being born into it and citizens of the Kingdom of God because of who our Father is.
In the material world what matters is results. To be successful we must set goals and tailor our efforts to accomplishing those goals. God cares about the motivations of our hearts that he sees so clearly from his perspective in the spiritual realm.
While limited to the material world a believer’s life seeks to balance these conflicting concepts, keeping in mind that our citizenship in this world will eventually expire, and unlike a passport, it cannot be renewed. Our citizenship in Heaven is eternal.
Whenever the needs of this world conflict with those of the next we need to keep in mind that eternal trumps temporary every time.
In our daily lives, our work or ministry, it really is the thought…the motive of the heart…that counts, both here and hereafter.