Read Luke 10:18-20
18 “Yes,” he told them, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning! 19 Look, I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy, and you can walk among snakes and scorpions and crush them. Nothing will injure you. 20 But don’t rejoice because evil spirits obey you; rejoice because your names are registered in heaven.” (NLT)
The disciples had just returned from a very successful preaching and teaching mission. They had vivid demonstrations of the power of God. They had seen Satan defeated in the lives of people they encountered. There had undoubtedly been some dramatic victories and the disciples would have felt very encouraged. Rightly so.
But Jesus, while recognising all that good news, reminds them of something even more important. True, they had seen great victories and dramatic interventions in the lives of people. Yet the real issue is not that their ministry was successful, but that they truly do belong to Jesus.
Putting it another way, what really matters is that we have right relationship with God through Jesus. It matters more than our ‘ministry’. It is right and proper that we take some comfort and encouragement when we see victories happen, when we see response to our work, when we engage in rewarding ministry. But all of that pales into insignificance besides the fact that we belong to God through Jesus.
What we do for God inside and outside the church does matter. But our eternal destiny ultimately doesn’t depend on it. This side of heaven we will have successes and setbacks. We can never be sure what will come next, but we can be sure that our destiny is assured.