Some people never struggle with anything. Doesn’t it feel that way? Don’t you know people who succeed at everything they do? It feels completely unfair. When you work your butt off to accomplish great things, and every door is slammed in your face, it’s really difficult to sit passively on the sidelines and be grateful for the success other people have.
Of course, the flaw with that thinking is obvious. Everyone struggles. Everyone has difficulties. And if we think that the sun is always shining on someone, that just means they haven’t told us about their rainy days. Everyone gets rained on, although it feels like some of us get hailed on more frequently.
Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 15:58.
So, my dear brothers and sisters, be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Do you know the story of King Midas? I’m not sure what culture it comes from, but it’s one of those legendary morality tales that has survived thousands of years. In case you don’t know it, the story is about a man, King Midas, who loved wealth. But one day, he is given the opportunity to have a wish granted. And he wishes that everything he touches would turn to gold.
Personally, I think that would be pretty cool. Just to have the power to turn one thing into something else. That would be pretty amazing. But there is a downfall to Midas’s wish. He can’t eat. He tries, and the food turns to gold before it gets to his mouth. And there is a worse consequence. His beloved daughter comes to greet him, and when he touches her, she turns to gold.
The story of King Midas is really more about greed and contentment than anything else, but it’s what I thought of when I read today’s verse. Because I know people who have the Midas touch. Everything they touch turns to gold. Every venture they try succeeds. Every risk they take pays off. And me? I’m stuck on the sidelines. At least, that’s what it feels like to me.
But then, I read this verse.
Nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless.
Take a minute and let that sink in. It doesn’t matter what you do, whether it’s large or small, complicated or simple, if you do it for God, it will make a difference somewhere, somehow. Seem too good to be true? Well, think about it. Who else can make that statement? Only God is big enough to take our lives and our actions and use them in a way that changes others. Only God is able to take our screw ups and our mistakes and make something good come out of it.
I get really frustrated because it feels to me that I have always been on the sidelines helping other people succeed. But what does it mean to succeed? What does it mean to accomplish great things? What is a great thing? How do you measure success? How do you measure greatness?
I’m sure King Midas measured wealth by how much gold he had in his vaults before he had the golden touch. But after? Wealth would have been an apple he could eat. Wealth would have been his daughter smiling at him.
It’s all about perspective.
I have big goals. I have big dreams. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But I need to keep my perspective in check because no matter what I do, if I do it for God, it will make a difference, if not here then in heaven where it really matters anyway. Does that mean I can stop pursuing my dreams down here? No way. God gives us dreams for a reason, but it’s wrong to get caught up in whether you are succeeding in your estimation or not. It’s wrong to compare yourself and your progress to someone else because you’re not them. They have their own dreams and goals, and while it’s easy to compare yourself to someone else, it’s not productive.
Nobody has the golden touch. Everyone struggles.
So what if all I ever accomplish is to help someone meet God? So what if all I ever do is to encourage someone to keep following God in the midst of hardship? So what if I put my dreams on hold to help someone else accomplish the task of reaching out to the lost? Maybe that’s not my dream specifically. But if I do it for God, it won’t be a waste of time.