This is the third and last planned post in this three-day series. I introduced the series in Part 1 and talked about the first reason we face failure and what to do about it in Part 2. Today, let’s tackle a second reason we sometimes don’t feel like we’re bearing fruit and what we can do about that.

At times, we may not see the fruit, the results, of how God is working through our lives. We may, in fact, see just the opposite, at least for a time and perhaps for our whole lives. We consistently share the gospel or teach or preach the Word or lead a small group or rear our children or stay committed to our spouse, and it seems like nothing is happening. We see no movement, or worse, things are digressing. Why does this happen and what should we do?

Is your ladder of success leaning on the right building? If you are defining success by worldly standards, you may end up terribly disappointed when you don’t see the results you are expecting. But God’s working does not operate as the world’s systems do. As Isaiah learned, the teaching of God’s Word may harden people’s hearts at first. In Isaiah 6:9-10, a passage quoted six times in the New Testament, God tells Isaiah to expect people to not understand his Word. Even though Isaiah would pour his life into preaching God’s truth,  the people’s eyes and ears would seem totally closed to God. Like Isaiah, we must believe that God is at work anyway, that his Word will not return empty, but he will accomplish what he desires through us (Isa 55:11).

We are to be witnesses of God’s truth and love. Period. How they respond is in God’s hands. This takes surrender.

What really matters is not outward successes, but our faithfulness to him. God makes the seeds we have planted and watered grow in his own timing, not ours. We may see the fruit in eternity if not here on earth. I believe we will be greatly surprised by what God did though what we thought were futile efforts. And those may be our greatest rewards in heaven.

How do you define “success” in your ministry?


If you were to redefine success based on God’s calling and direction rather than on worldly wisdom, how would it be different?

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Michael Mack has led Small Group Leadership full-time since 2012, but has been involved in small group ministry for more than 25 years. He lives in Pewee Valley, Kentucky (just outside Louisville), with his wife Heidi. Their family small group, which includes their four young adult children, has much potential (and much anticipation) for future growth and multiplication. Michael enjoys mountain and road biking with a group of great friends who participate together in various charity rides. See the "About Michael Mack" page under About Us for more about him.

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