“And the word of the LORD came to Solomon, saying, Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father: And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will not forsake my people Israel.”–1 Kings 16:11–13
William Wilberforce was already a rising star in the British political world when he was saved at twenty-five years of age. His faith led him to take action to end the slave trade within the British Empire, which was a very unpopular idea at the time. Wilberforce was mocked, ridiculed, slandered, and opposed but he continued on. He said, “Our motto must continue to be perseverance. And ultimately I trust the Almighty will crown our efforts with success.” Eventually the tide of public opinion turned, and in 1833, just three days before Wilberforce died, the Abolition of Slavery bill was finally passed into law.
There are many who make judgments of success or failure based on immediate results. And in truth, almost all of us would prefer for things to happen quickly. But most good things are not accomplished immediately. Instead they take continued and persistent effort and investment. When we decide we have failed because something didn’t work right away, we lose both the result that would eventually have come if we had persisted and the character that would have been built by continued effort along the way.
In the end God does not measure by visible results, but by faithfulness. “Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2). Those who give up and walk away because the task is hard will not ever accomplish anything meaningful. Instead we should keep doing right and trust God for the final outcome.