Our Submission to God Matters More than Achieving Result.
Our Submission to God Matters More than Result (Ezra 4).
When believers and Christian communities start engaging in God’s works and projects, we can be challenged by evil forces. Against the challenges and temptations, we can still push forward and reap the expected and planned results. However, there are times when our diligent and hard labor for our God do not bear the fruits that we have been praying for. When the latter scenario occurs, disappointment, anger, and frustration can stir our heart and faith and often compel us to stop the works that we used to believe as God’s plans and wills for us. This is what happened to the people of Judah (Ezra 4). They were so excited to rebuild the temple of God, but when their adversaries prevailed over them and had the Persian king to make a decree to stop the advancement of the reconstruction, they were so dismayed and afraid that they stopped their work completely, thinking, “t[T]he time has not come, even the time for the house of the Lord to be rebuilt” (Hag. 1:2).
Now, let’s think about the value of our work for the LORD. It is true that the completion of the broken temple was the actual mission that was given to the people of Judah, so that it was important to see the actual result of the completion of the reconstruction to determine the success of their project. However, we must remember that regardless of the outcome, participation in the project by itself was a praiseworthy deed, because it was the command of the LORD God almighty who only deserves our humble obedience. God is pleased when we submit ourselves to his sovereign authority. Our God is fully sufficient within himself, so that he does not need the temple to be more satisfied, and even though our submission pleases him, that does not make his glory more radiant. Still our triune God chose to be pleased through the obedience of his people. Thus, Samuel says, “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice” (1Sam. 15:22). Then, first and foremost, we need to value the act of our obedience to God.
Our submission to God pleases him regardless of the quality of the outcome. Yes, when we have poor results in spite of our best and sincere endeavor, we should definitely examine “how” we are participating in our projects. Yes, mediocre results can discourage us and tempt us to make the same mistake that the people of Judah made. Still, there are times when we must submit to him continuously regardless of the condition of the outcome of our labors and focus on the value of responding to God’s words. God knows our limitation to carry out his commands and our attitude towards his words, and the latter actually matters to him the most. Submission is our responsibility, and the result is God’s responsibility. What are the factors that are dragging you from obeying his words today? Sometimes, we think too much, and too much thinking could generate “sinful” rationales and loopholes to make excuses for our disobedience. Our submission to God matters more than the result, because our mission is submission. Perhaps, this is a time for our submission.