“Do me a favor, don’t tell anybody about this.” The man, who just experienced something miraculous, was told not to tell a soul. I imagine him looking puzzled as the healer continued, “Don’t give me a shout out on twitter. As a matter of fact, can you delete the video your friend just shot from her iPhone? I don’t want it to end up on YouTube.”
These are the words I envision Jesus would have used if He was currently walking the earth and performing unbelievable healings in our 21st century, everything-goes-online generation. And, we would have been equally as confused as the crowd who witnessed the miracle. You better believe the onlookers were completely shocked and itching to spread the word when a person who was deaf and had a speech impediment was suddenly hearing and talking impeccably. But the healer (our Savior) essentially says, “Let’s keep this on the down low?” What?!
I’ve heard it said that God’s kingdom/God’s ways work completely opposite of the world’s system. In our society, if we do something we think is noteworthy, our first inclination is often “Wouldn’t it be amazing if I get a shout out on social media? Maybe an influential person will read my writing and repost it on their Instagram. Perhaps my post will go viral… ” I most certainly have entertained such thoughts, unconsciously buying into the world’s measure of success: with a big platform, tons of likes, and a large following, I’ll finally be noticed by someone famous. Then I will truly be successful. But look how Jesus responds when he did something noteworthy:
They brought to him a deaf man who had difficulty speaking and begged Jesus to lay his hand on him.So he took him away from the crowd in private. After putting his fingers in the man’s ears and spitting, he touched his tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed deeply and said to him, “Ephphatha! (that is, “Be opened!”). Immediately his ears were opened, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak clearly. He ordered them to tell no one, but the more he ordered them, the more they proclaimed it.
Mark 7:32-36 CSB, emphasis added.
Jesus performed world-impacting things ALL the time, and as He did these miraculous feats, He frequently followed with, “Tell no one!” Shocking. On our blog this month, our focus is being “Made New.” What Jesus’s example taught me is that I needed my perception of success to be made new—to have it defined by my Creator. As an author, I discovered success is not about how many people read my writing or are influenced by me, but it is about faithfully walking out the purpose God has for me—whether anyone knows it, affirms it, and celebrates it or not.
When God has called you to write, success means you write—whether it is for yourself, one other person, or for many people around the world. Living in God’s kingdom frequently reveals the MANY areas I need to be made new in. Walking according to His ways recently unveiled to me that being successful isn’t about the size of your platform, it is about finishing the work He has specifically given you.
Author | Amber Olafsson