Outcome vs. Obedience

Michael Beck

“But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.” (Luke 24:21)

The two on the road to Emmaus were lost in conversation, when suddenly a stranger appeared asking them what they were talking about which made them so sad. Jesus played dumb to get them to open up. And then it came spilling out – they were disappointed at how things had turned out. It was not supposed to have ended this way. Jesus was a “prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people;” how then did He end up “condemned to death” and crucified?

Too often we gauge the success of any endeavor by what we see with our eyes or hear with our ears. We attempt to do something and then see if it “worked.” If we sow seed we look for fruit. Results validate our effort.

But the wisdom of the cross works in the exact opposite fashion. In the eyes of all, the mission of Jesus appeared as a failure. What had it accomplished? He would no doubt go down in history as another “flash in the pan” would-be messiah. But through His Son, the Father was communicating to us a deeper truth of what success looks like. On earth, to human eyes, the evidence of success lies in outcome; in heaven, to God’s eyes, the proof of success lies in obedience. “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Php. 2:8)

Don’t follow the world’s model for success. If God calls you to do something, do it. If it doesn’t produce results, it may get you nothing but ridicule in the eyes of men. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the reward for obedience you will receive from the One who has a different measure of success than men do. Many who are now being praised for doing a great job have no reward awaiting them above. Lay up treasure in heaven through obedience alone.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.