The Impact Is In The Effort

by Lee Buford on August 25, 2010

Measuring the impact of anything can be a tricky proposition at times. In fact it’s often impossible. When the outcome really matters, however, impossible is not an option…not a good enough answer for most of us.

We want results. We want to see progress. We want to know that what we are doing is accomplishing our purposes.

But many times our focus is on the wrong part the equation. We worry about the results more than the process, the known more than the unknown, and the outcome more than the mission. We channel our thoughts, energies, and efforts on the wrong things, and we assume failure based on the wrong measurables. In many cases we won’t even make an attempt at something if we simply perceive an insufficient impact on the other side of the deal.

But this is where we make the crucial mistake. This is where we set ourselves up for failure, where we miss out on so many of life’s joys and blessings because we never put forth the effort.

The impact is in the effort…without the effort, there is no impact!


Don’t get me wrong…the score matters. Winning is important, and accomplishing the things for which we exist should be important to each of us. But we have to accept that we won’t always see the end-result, we won’t always know the final score, and we can’t measure everything.

“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” – Albert Einstein

This is especially analogous to our roles in discipleship and evangelism. We pour ourselves into others, teaching and encouraging, yet we likely will never see the full impact of that investment this side of heaven. Day after day, we share the gospel with others, and in many cases never see the fruits of our labor. But we’re planting the seeds…being obedient to what God’s called us to do. We are putting  forth the effort. And someone put forth that same effort in your life!

They may have not seen the impact of that effort in you, even to this day. But they were obedient, they put forth the effort, and you are living proof of the impact.

The one controllable we have at our disposal is that effort. We choose what we believe is important, what we should do, and what attitude we bring to the mission at hand. With the proper assessments and decisions in each area we stand a better-than-not chance of achieving the desired impact. But again, there will be no impact without our initial effort!

Opportunity is all around us. It’s in our neighborhoods, our schools, our businesses, and our churches to name a few…opportunities for YOU and ME to make an impact. People are hurting, suffering, and lost. And WE can make a difference! But we CANNOT allow the potential outcome to dictate the effort.

We are clearly commanded to love God, to love one another, and to make disciples…all of which represent the effort required of each of us. God Himself is responsible for the harvest, or the ultimate impact our efforts have on others and His kingdom. We CANNOT be concerned about how, when, or why He uses this effort for His purposes. We must only be concerned with our obedience….with the effort we apply in response to that to which we are called.

What are some ways you’ve been able to trust God for the impact and focus your thoughts on the effort? What might you suggest to others who may be struggling with this very issue?


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