Like many Americans I took Spanish in high school, but preceded to quickly forget everything. I began learning again a year ago to better communicate with our partner churches in Nicaragua. This Sunday I was conversing with a friend at church, and they asked how my Spanish skills were progressing. I replied that my skills were still not very good and I still have a long way to go. I’ll admit, I was fishing for a compliment with that response. This friend had just been in Nicaragua with me a few weeks earlier, and had a good idea where my skills were. I figured they’d respond with “you did so well in Nicaragua.” Instead, they responded with “well, you tried a lot when we are done there, so I can tell you are certainly trying.” Yeah, not exactly the ego boosting compliment I was fishing for!
As I thought about it, trying hard is very much what I want to do in my life. There are many times I may try something and seemingly fail. There may be other times that I try some and succeed, but the success has little to do with me, but everything to do with God. The reality is that every time we try something in the name of God we are being the disciples He wants us to be. The important thing is not always that we achieve the type of instant success society teaches us to aim for, but that we truly use our gifts to the fullest. We give our best and fullest try in all circumstances, and we trust God with the results.
A scripture that lays this concept was written by Paul as he sat in prison. Paul had given the greatest try possible in spreading the gospel to every person and place possible. Yet, here he sat, with the possibility that he may not leave alive. His best try very much could have seemed like a failure. Yet, in the midst of that difficult circumstance, he wrote:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13
This passage, which so often gets taken out of context, hits home the idea that we must serve God to the fullest and trust Him with the results. Try sharing the gospel with your neighbor, and trust God with the results. Try serving in a different ministry, and trust God with the results. Try learning a new language so you can share with people in a different culture, and trust God with the results. What do you need try in the name of God this week?