The One Requirement for a Successful Ministry

April 15, 2011

Noah was a man who lived by faith, not feelings. How do I know this? Because nothing will make you want to give up like 100 years of monotonous labor and nothing to show for it but a pile of gopher wood. Long hours. Long days. Blistered hands. Callused fingers. Ornery animals. Laughing neighbors.

How many times do you think Noah felt like giving up? How many times do you think he laid down his hammer, looked up to the sky and said ‘Seriously?’

When he needed encouragement from his friends, he got mocking laughter instead. No support from anyone except his family.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, consider his congregation. They showed up in rain coats and galoshes, with sarcastic grins on their faces.  

The only thing more worn out than his hands was his voice. Weary and ragged from long hours of preaching. Sermon after sermon. Day after day. Thousands of altar calls. Zero converts.

100 years of ministry, and nothing to show for it but a building project.

Think of Noah after having loaded his livestock and family into the ark taking one last glance out the door…how do you think he felt, looking back on his ministry? All the preaching, all the building, all the labor…and what did he have to show for it?

“Lord, I’m a failure. Not a single convert. I convinced no one, persuaded no one. Some preacher I am. I guess you should’ve chosen someone else.”

But God required only one thing of Noah; and only one thing of us…faithfulness. He does not demand results. He does not mandate tangible profits or visible progress. Those things are desirable but only one thing is required.

  • God requires that you preach- he doesn’t require that they listen.
  • God requires that you witness- he doesn’t require that they respond.
  • You take care of the work- he’ll take care of the results.
  • You plant the seed- He’ll reap the harvest.
  • You build the boat- He’ll keep you in the storm.

In God’s eyes there is only one requirement for a successful ministry: faithfulness. It is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

So keep working, keep building, keep preaching.

Because the rain is coming.

By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith. –Hebrews 11:7

Have you ever felt like a failure? What kept you going? You can comment here.