Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa 6:8)
When God called, Isaiah’s heart responded right away. Although he felt unworthy of God’s calling, as he recognized he was just a sinful human being, he did not doubt God’s forgiveness of his sin, and so he was eager to respond to God’s call, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isa 6:8)
However, what a shocking mission awaited him! He would minister to a people who would remain unresponsive and thus they would remain unrepentant. Time and again, he would preach God’s grace to them, “Return to the Lord, come back.” (Isaiah 30:15; 31:6; 44:22; 55:7) However, time and again, they would reject Isaiah’s preaching. Therefore, instead of telling Isaiah that good results would come from his ministry, God told Isaiah that his ministry would result in the hardening of hearts.
He said, “Go and tell this people: ‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.” (Isa 6:9-10, cf. Mt 13:13-15, Mk 4:12 and Lk 8:10)
What an unpleasant, and a difficult and seemingly unsuccessful mission Isaiah was given!
Imagine God called us to evangelise to a certain group of people but right at the very onset, He told us that our evangelism would not result in success; the people would not be interested in the gospel message we brought to them, not to mention to accept Christ. Would we eagerly respond right away to His call, and then press on without giving up,
despite knowing it would not result in success? Or would we keep ourselves out of it despite His calling? Is it faithfulness or success that we go after? Are we thinking that it does not matter if our ministry does not result in success as long as we are faithful serving in it, as God has called us to serve in it? Or are we thinking that our ministry must result in success otherwise we will not serve in it, even though God has called us to serve in it?
God does not hold us responsible for success but for faithfulness. The world honours success but God honours faithfulness. If we were given a choice; faithfulness or success, but not both, which would we choose?
I know what I would choose. What about you?