Bible translation, linguistics and literacy work have many challenges. Bruce Hollenbach defines the struggle to balance our desire for success with a commitment to our mandate:
"It would be a shame if we ultimately came to feel that certain communities were simply too low in priority for any of us to want to give our lives to make God’s Word accessible to them; particularly if we came to believe that we had to be reasonably certain that sufficient numbers would respond to our efforts in order for those efforts to be worthwhile.”
In our current success-minded society we must humbly look to God’s Word for a proper evaluation of our priorities, methods and subsequent results. With all the variable factors in a language situation, many of which we can’t understand or control, we must distrust our own ability to predict results.
When the message has been communicated the messenger is not held responsible for a lack of response by the hearers. But if the message is not communicated then the messenger is culpable. The measure of our success then is dependent on the extent of our faithfulness.