Impact. What impact is your life making? How do you measure it? What are the proper metrics to measure Christian impact? The short answer is, “there aren’t any.” Let me show you what I mean.
5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
Being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, he answered them, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.”
In a ministry like Rescue 1, you can spend time in the trenches for long periods without seeing a rescue. Unfortunately, many people love sin, and by association, they also love misery. We often watch people go to prison, overdose, or abuse other people. Week after week we meet people at the doors of motels or apartment complexes we’ve known for years, through all their trials and pain, and yet their hearts seem to remain hard and impervious to the light of the Gospel. Many a volunteer has given up because of “not seeing any fruit.” They doubt that what they are doing is having any impact. Ministry fatigue sets in, a jaded heart takes over, and the nasty habit of lethargic pew sitting becomes the norm again in their life.
Jesus lived for three and one-half years upon the earth. There were times when He brought abundant deliverance to people, and times He had deep conflict with them. There were times when the crowds were large and times when they all left Him. In His greatest trial the Apostles slept. During His earthly legal trial they abandoned Him. “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep with scatter.” (Zechariah 13:7) The fulfilling of that prophetic word must have been more bitter than the vinegar given to Him on the sponge. Could He see any impact? What metrics could you have used that fateful day to measure His impact on humanity? He felt forsaken. He was abandoned by His closest friends. Those that once called for Him to be King now called for Him to be crucified. Humans are fickle creatures, “unstable in all their ways.” If you had taken the metrics of His ministry on that day, the way the average American measures success today, you would have called Him a failure. You would have agreed with the Pharisees, “others he can save, but he cannot save himself.”
But Christianity is counter-intuitive. It doesn’t follow the patterns of the world. “The last shall be first.” “The greatest will be the servant of all.” “He that keeps His life will lose it.” How do you measure impact when these things are true? I will give you only one word, though it is not a metric of measure. It is the only word that I know of that can settle the human heart and grant to him or her the stability they need to continue to minister in difficult circumstances. That word is Faithfulness. Or it can be asked in a question, “Has God said?” We are to build our lives on the words of Christ. They are the foundation that allows us to weather the storm. They give us stability to continue when we can’t see the fruit. They become our measure and steal the question of “What is my life’s impact” from our mind. As the old hymn writer says, that ground, “is sinking sand.”
Questions for Meditation
Do you ever get discouraged when you look at the impact of your personal or your local church’s ministry?
Have you been using the wrong metric of measure and become jaded or fatigued in ministry?
Do you move from church to church or ministry to ministry looking for the one with the most people or that seems to be the most “successful”?
Are there any other areas of your life that are unstable because, instead of looking to your own faithfulness to determine your measure of impact, you looked to the shortcomings of others?
VP of Prevention
Rescue 1 Global