Published on May 4th, 2018 | by Katherine Forster
God Doesn’t Need Your Bestseller
Recently, we’ve published quite a few articles on TheReb about faithfulness in the small things.
Different teen authors have tackled the idea of what it means to be faithful in the everyday services which are no less important or less glorifying to God, but can nevertheless feel mundane or even boring.
You could call it a rebuke of society or culture or the unrealistic expectations placed on teens by others.
I think it’s really more of a commentary on the human heart.
We want to reach thousands with our writing, not the piddling ten or twenty that visit our blog each week. We want to perform our music in packed stadiums. We want to speak in front of national leaders or work our way to the top of the political system. We want our fundraising efforts to bring in hundreds of thousands.
We want to make a big difference, don’t we?
We Want To Make a Difference
That’s a good desire. As teens we’re imbued with all the passion and fervor of youth. God has used many teens to do big, world-changing things.
But so often—at least in my own heart—that desire does not reflect a passion for God’s glory. Just a passion for my own.
Maybe it’s the same for you.
I want the praise. I want to be in the newspaper. I want to have thousands of people reading what I write and friends at church congratulating me.
A Lack of Trust
It’s obvious: pride is a problem for all of us. But beyond pride, I think this desire reflects another issue. It shows a lack of trust in God.
We see something that’s wrong with our world. It might be abortion or human trafficking. It might be the widespread rejection of God’s truth. It might be something within the church—apathy toward God and His word, ingrained racism, or the lack of understanding about apologetics.
And we want to do something about it. Again, that’s a good thing! Apathy toward these problems would be a very wrong response.
The problem is sometimes we think we’re the only ones who can do something about it. It’s not even a conscious thought—just this subconscious feeling that “I need to have everybody read my book (or listen to my music, or give to my fundraiser), or else this problem isn’t going to be fixed.”
And then, when it’s taking forever to build a platform, or the response to our efforts is minimal at best, we get discouraged.
Did we forget about God?
He Sees the Big Picture
We tend to think that the world is only changed, problems are only solved, by big things. Massive rallies. Bestselling books. Viral posts.
But God has been doing this a whole lot longer than we have. And he works in marvelous ways. He works in individual, unique, one-of-a-kind human hearts using individual and unique methods. Sometimes he chooses to use those bestsellers or big rallies. Often it’s just the friend or neighbor who faithfully lives out the gospel and invites someone to a Bible study.
We can’t see the big picture. Only God can. And just maybe, the big picture is overwhelmingly of individuals being faithful in everyday life; living out the gospel; witnessing to people around them; making disciples, one by slow, faltering one.
Only he sees the millions of points of light exploding like galaxies as he uses the faithfulness of thousands of followers to carry out purposes bigger than anything we can imagine.
Only God could orchestrate something like that.
God doesn’t need us. He can work out his purposes, with or without us. He is sovereign.
I’ve hesitated to use the term “we” throughout this post, because I can’t see into all my fellow teens’ hearts, and I don’t know if they all struggle with this. I imagine they do.
It might seem hypocritical for me to be writing this, since I do have a book contract. Being discouraged about lack of platform or opportunity isn’t as much of an issue right now.
But pride still is. Maybe more so than ever. It’s so incredibly easy for me to make an idol out of the influence my book could potentially have. So very subtly, the lie creeps in that God needs this book.
No. He doesn’t. He is sovereign.
Please understand, I’m not trying to say that the big, highly visible, world changing things are unimportant. Of course not!
God has seen fit to use a great number of Christians to influence many people in various ways. The Apostle Paul. St. Augustine. Martin Luther. John Bunyan. William Tyndale. George Washington. Jonathan Edwards. Harriet Beecher Stowe. Billy Graham. John Piper. Alex and Brett Harris. Jaquelle Crowe. Those are just a very few—hundreds of thousands of Christians have been very influential, whether worldwide, nationally, or within their community.
But that’s not the only way he works. He works through the small, unseen acts of faithfulness, weaving them into a tapestry whose grandeur only he can see—yet.
So please, don’t give up on doing good hard things just because they don’t seem to have much of an impact. Faithfulness is more important than platform. Trust that God will use your unseen faithfulness as part of that bigger picture that only He can see.