Sometimes the things that I try to count to indicate my progress or my success are things that don’t count to God at all. A few months ago I came across an Albert Einstein quote at work; it’s an ironic quote because my field, Monitoring and Evaluation, is a lot about trying to quantify and qualify progress towards development. A lot of what we do is try to define what success in a given context and then put systems in place to show that we are making progress towards that success. As such the quote reads,
“Not everything that counts can be counted. And not everything that can be counted, counts.”
The things that I try to count to indicate my progress or my success don’t count to God at all. How many “likes” my new profile picture gets on Facebook, doesn’t count for anything; even if it gives me a false sense of security temporarily, it wont last. God doesn’t care what I look like and a wise man once said, “If you want to have more fun you need to care less about how you look.”
The title I hold at work doesn’t mean I am better than someone who holds a lesser title. In my pride there have been times where I have taken offense or felt slighted by someone mistaking me for someone much younger who held a lower position. I felt like I earned my position and wanted to claim it because I attached value to it. To God it doesn’t matter what my title is. He knows how hard I worked and His reward for me is in heaven. These things may seem like no brainers to you, but sometimes pride has a way of sneaking into my heart and out of it I can lack love for others. When I count the wrong things I miss out what counts most to God.
Gal 5:6 The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
One powerful thing about what counts to God, is that he does not count these things against me. God loves me and this love is not attached to my performance, even when the performance is a major fail. James 1:5 reminds me that he gives without finding fault. He doesn’t count things against me or towards me based on my behavior on a given day (thank goodness!). God cares more about my character than my status even when I, in my pride, try to cling to my status for affirmation. When I shift my focus to what counts to him I am also able to better see his immense love for me. When I see this love it changes my perspective and in turn my actions. It is his love that allows me to love others more in ways that may never be counted by anyone else but him. When I believe in this love that he has for me, I stop keeping track of what may or may not count and I am able to give to others with a pure heart. I am able to be more deliberate, to lift others up, to let go of slights, to not worry about a response.
James 1:5-6 (NIV) “If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because anyone who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”
When I am rooted in God’s unwavering love it also transforms my prayer life. I can pray out of a right heart with pure motives and more importantly, I can pray for the very things I am afraid to pray for. When I humble myself before God, He lifts me up. When I turn to him more than I turn to others, or myself He gives me perspective. When I see my need for him it allows me to pray for the things that I am scared to pray for, the things that I can not see, for the family members who are not believers, for wisdom to help others to know him, for whatever it is that I desire but can fear to speak out loud and hand over to him. When I return to what counts, he counts me and my faith is solidified so that I do not waiver in my impossible prayers because he does not waver.
James 1:17 “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”