Many people confuse results with faith. They look at someone who has a lot of success and automatically think he has a great deal of faith. However, results are not always directly related to the amount of faith you have.
In Hebrews 11, the faith chapter, it tells the stories of many of the great men and women of the Bible, but it says that “they did not receive the things promised, they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance.” Many of the people we think of as having great faith today had very little success in their lifetime.
1) The fathers of the nation of Israel, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were given a promise that they would have descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky (Genesis 15:5). When Jacob died, they had only 70 descendants in their family (Genesis 46:27).
2) Moses was supposed to take Israel into the land of promise yet he came up short and died on its borders (Deuteronomy 34).
3) David was given the dream to be the first one to ever build God a temple (2 Samuel 7:1-2), and even though he accumulated all the materials for it, he never saw it completed.
4) Most of the Old Testament prophets lived their entire lives preaching righteousness and repentance to the people yet saw few if any converts and were eventually executed or imprisoned for their beliefs.
5) Even Jesus – when He died, had only a handful of followers that stayed true.
All of these people had great faith that we can clearly see today, but when they were living, they had few results. They did not let a lack or results keep them from being faithful to the life God called them to live. They knew that the effects of true faith are not always seen in their lifetime. Many times, true faith is sowing seeds you know you will never see the harvest for because you know it will bring people in generations to come closer to God.