Coming to the concluding part of our series on “the Success story of the unsuccessful Prophets”, let’s now train the spotlight on the following sub-titles…
Hmmm…reflecting on the ‘success’ of the Ministry of the “unsuccessful” Prophets, which did not bring to God’s kingdom ‘many repentant souls’ let me forewarn, the success per se of the ministries of these faithful ambassadors of God ought not to be evaluated in the context of its meaning as spelled out in, say, an Oxford dictionary; but rather, in the backdrop of its meaning as outlined in God’s lexicon! If to God, they were ultimately accountable, then from Him alone ought to come the Final verdict on the ‘success’ of their ministry!
For the ‘Divine verdict’ on this subject, let’s have a closer look at the words of commendation of the Divine master (in the parable of talents) addressed to those earnest servants of his, which goes thus: “Well done, my good and faithful servant” (Matt 25:21-23). The words of commendation employed (not once but twice, as though to underscore a point) were not, “well done, my successful servant” but rather “well done, my faithful servant”. Ah…Faithfulness…That’s the key to gaining God’s approval in any realm of spiritual service! Is it pervading every area of our work for Him? If it is, then my dear Co-servants in His vineyard, let’s never fret over the so-called ‘lack of success’ in our Ministry, because as long as we faithfully endeavour to carry out His tasks assigned to us, we are guaranteed the Master’s sanction! Let me reiterate here, even at the cost of sounding repetitive… “faithfulness” alone is the scale by which the Divine Master rates success in Ministry done for His Glory!
God, who sees and punishes every done sin in secret, also sees every good deed done faithfully for His glory in secret and rewards (Heb 4:13) suitably. The early Church didn’t know about Cornelius, the charitable Roman centurion, until his baptism; but his good deeds done faithfully, albeit in a corner as it were, were noticed by Him, whose opinion matters the most at all times (Acts 10:1-5)!
In conclusion, I want to highlight the ‘greatest’ success of the supposedly unsuccessful Prophets before exile. It is only logical to believe that for a far more popular, successful, history-conscious (Nehemiah13:26) socio-spiritual leader like Nehemiah, the faithfulness displayed in the past by prophets such as Jeremiah and Amos was always a source of great inspiration, especially in his moments of discouragement, as he endeavoured to rebuild the broken Jerusalem wall against heavy odds. Jeremiah, Amos and their ilk may have been Davy’s equivalent to Nehemiah in the sphere of inspiration. Leave alone Nehemiah, even today, when we see the perseverance and faithfulness of the ‘unsuccessful’ prophets, are we not enlivened and encouraged to go an extra mile for the Lord? The simple fact is…The good Lord is still using them, even today, though physically they are long dead and gone, for their example still continues to inspire us! They were the very definition of the catchy phrase “If you aspire to inspire before you expire, then you would continue to inspire long after you expire”. Hallelujah!
Would our lives and our selfless (?) work for Him, inspire the posterity in the same way like that of say a Jeremiah or an Amos, inspires us today? Hmmm…inconspicuous Humphrey Davy or popular Michael Faraday (Ha…it all began there)? It doesn’t matter in God’s realm, as long as you are faithful! Amen!
Prayer: Father, let faithfulness be always the key operative word in everything we do for Your Glory. Be it in winning souls or reviving the backslidden ones or be it in strengthening further the persevering ones. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.
J and SM Ministries
(To access the entire “The Success Story of the Unsuccessful Prophets” mini-series, please click here.)