Author/Source:Michael Martin
Topic:Success, Obedience
Summary:Do you want to do great things for God? Perhaps that's simpler than you think...

Do you want to do great things for the Lord? I’ll admit that I do. Imagine winning thousands of souls for the Kingdom. Maybe you’d like to write a bestselling book to help people walk closer with Lord. You could even strive to be a world-renowned preacher. Imagine being regarded even by God Himself as a hero of the faith!

Hebrews chapter eleven gives us a list of such heroes. Some of the most famous men in the Bible are listed there for the great and amazing things they did for the Lord. But what did they do, really?

Of the men listed in the great cloud of witnesses described in Hebrews eleven, Noah comes to mind first. Noah, through whom all of humanity was preserved. What a hero of the faith! And the tools of his ministry? A hammer and saw. Think about it. One day, Noah is working his fields, minding his own business, and then God speaks to him. “Build and ark,” God says, “and here are the specs.”

The next thing Noah knew, he was cutting down trees and making planks and beams–probably for a few years. Day in, day out, tirelessly cutting wood, juggling his farming activities, and being a husband and father. Not very exciting stuff. In the decades that followed, Noah and his sons must have felt like they lived on scaffolding, endlessly fastening planks to the superstructure of a vessel that served no apparent purpose whatsoever. Have you ever worked for so long on a project that you got sick of it? Multiply that times a hundred, and add the fact that the whole project seemed patently absurd and useless to observers and, perhaps on occasion, to Noah himself. It wasn’t an exciting existence, to be sure. It was mundane. Day after day, year after year, decade after decade, Noah’s life was all about cutting, hammering, coating with pitch, and somehow keeping up with his fields enough to continue feeding his family. Bor ing.

Of course, Noah was also a preacher of righteousness. That’s how he is described in 2 Peter 2:5. It might seem more interesting to imagine Noah preaching eloquent sermons to the puzzled onlookers as he continued his work on the ark, and maybe he did. But for all the time Noah had to preach righteousness as the ark was being built, how successful was he in getting his message across? How many people were later permitted to board the ark? Only Noah, his wife, and his sons and their wives. Beyond Noah’s immediate family, not one soul responded to Noah’s preaching. In all that time, and after all Noah’s efforts, not one.

When the floodwaters came, Noah put down his hammer and picked up a shovel. There were a lot of animals on that ark, and they had to be cleaned up after. Day in, day out, shoveling manure out of stalls and throwing it overboard. This was the life of Noah for a year while he waited for the floodwaters to recede.

It might have been easy for Noah to think himself a failure. Had he been so ineffective that not one soul had responded to his preaching? Was he of so little consequence that his life would be defined by hammers, saws, and shovels? When Noah finally had his “mountaintop” experience, there was no one left on earth to see it except his immediate family. The ark he built may not even exist anymore. For all Noah went through, the world certainly seems no more righteous now.

This was the life of Noah, one of the greatest men in all the Bible. This was the life of Noah, who is listed among a class of only three righteous men, along with Daniel and Job, in Ezekiel chapter 14. This is what causes Noah to take his place in the great cloud of witnesses in Hebrews eleven. What is it that Noah did that was so remarkable? So amazing? So worthy of God’s notice? It was simply this.

He obeyed.

Because of his trust in God, he obeyed.

Day in, day out, year after year, he obeyed.

When God called him to spend multiplied decades building a huge boat in the middle of dry ground, he obeyed. When onlookers scoffed, he obeyed. When he preached and preached and nobody responded, he obeyed. When it seemed like his life was mundane and boring, he obeyed.

Do you want to do great things for the Lord? You don’t have to be Billy Graham. You don’t have to be D. L. Moody or John Wycliffe. All you have to be is YOU–the best YOU that God has called you to be. Maybe God will call you to lead a few hundred people to Christ though eloquent evangelism. Maybe God will call you to tirelessly pray for that ONE member of your family who hasn’t yet discovered that he needs the Lord. Maybe thousands will respond to your ministry. Maybe NO ONE will. That’s not the point. God doesn’t measure success the same way we do.

In God’s eyes, it’s not about our accomplishments. It’s about the life we live. Whether we minister behind a pulpit, a computer keyboard, or a broom, the greatest thing any of us can do is to simply OBEY. Obey when it’s exciting. Obey when it’s boring. Obey when it’s easy and when it’s hard. But OBEY.

That is the sum total of what Noah did to earn his place among the Bible’s greatest heroes. Obey God in everything, every day. If you stumble, obey by confessing it and making it right, then obey again.

The world may never take notice of you. They may never know your name. They may think you’re crazy. You may go through life believing you’re a nobody, and you may feel like you’ve failed to accomplish anything. But obey.

One day, in a place called Heaven, God’s children will finally be able to see who the real heroes are. People like Noah and Daniel and Paul, but also people whom the world may not have taken any notice of. People who served God day in and day out, but who went unnoticed and unappreciated by the world. People who OBEYED.

Do you want to do something great for the Lord? God’s definition of “great” is very different from this world’s definition. You can be a hero, even through your quiet, boring, hum-drum existence. Because it ISN’T hum-drum.

It’s greatness.

If you obey.

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