It’s 9:30pm and I’m literally sitting downtown on a Friday night for our usual gig evangelizing. “You’re born perfect to be the best you can be. Worship Thor. My god will lift you up so you can stand on your own to live your life. I’m here to save you from a life of servitude to this man’s God.”
The man uttering these ridiculous phrases has been coming out consistently for almost a month now to specficially heckle my husband during his open air preaching. He says it’s his mission to steer people away from Steve’s lies (ultimately God’s), and that he has no right to come out and “scream” at people wanting to enjoy their night. Ironcially the only one screaming and name calling is him, but I don’t think that’s clicked for him yet. Nor has the fact that every time he has come down, he draws a huge crowd so even more people become interested and get to hear the gospel. We’ll just keep that lil secret between us girls (wink wink).
For those of you that are familiar with Ray Comfort’s early evangelism days in Christchurch, New Zealand, this gentlemen is our “White Wizard” and we appreciate him for that. Where we live in the Bible Belt everyone is so complacent towards the gospel and won’t engage. This heckler inspires people and other Christians to be involved and/or listen, and it’s great! Steve was excited, because tonight Mr Heckler Dude actually made his own sign (see main pic of this blog) and talked about doing flyers next. We’re so used to this type of response from atheists/agnostics that the shock value ran off a while ago. Yet this is new for this hyper-churched, cultural-Christianity area, and people don’t quite know what to make of it, but they are drawn to listen. So the Lord is bestowing many blessings on behalf of this man’s cursings.
If you’ve read a few of my other articles on Wassup Presup?, you’ll see that evangelism leaves you with many stories to tell. Mainly because people are unique and have equally unique beliefs/responses to God and His Word/truths. I look back and I’ve had about 10-15 yrs experience of this type of thing, along with stories of encounters from the various workplaces I’ve been in, and just general life encounters that have presented evangelism opportunities. Along with reflecting on how these and other experiences have grown/matured me as a Christian and hopefully others that have grown in their faith through discipleship opportunities.
The list goes on but all this to say that I wouldn’t consider any of these little ministry moments to be world-changing, worth being on the front page of a newspaper or influencing the masses. But I’ve seen God time and again use these for His glory, my good and the the good of those around in that moment.
As one who struggles with the concept of “small ministry” this is huge. Ask any of my close friends and they will tell you that I definitely struggle with the concept of wanting to be in full-time paid ministry, because I’ve just always had the heart for it. Nothing wrong with that desire, but the trouble is when you start thinking that this is the “be all end all” of ministry. Ie if you’ve made it to this level, and you have a YouTube channel/popular blog influencing the masses, you’ve reached the Mecca of ministry. Yes the small ministry counts, but it’s nothing like the big-game stuff.
Sitting here writing this I know exactly how ridiculous that sounds, but alas it is one of my personal battles that I have to speak the truth to myself alot about or I get lost in it. So alas, all y’all get a blog about it, lol. Just to clarify, I’m not going to go to the opposite extreme and say any type of “big-game”/highly influential ministry work is bad. Treading at that level takes extreme caution to fight against the pride of fame and fortune. The Lord has worked through men throughout history to produce an over abundance of fruit for whatever the calling was.
… like a plant being pruned, when the flesh gets seared off, the personal growth in Christlikeness and knowing God grows by leaps and bounds.
I think the parable of the talents and 10 minas in Mat 25 and Luke 19, and the vinyard workers in Mat 20 suits this idea well, at least in a secondary sense of their meanings. Each parable of course, differs in context and main points, but they’re quite intereresting to analyze and read together. Luke 19:17, makes the point I’m trying to get at though: “And he [the master] said to him, ‘Well done, good slave, because you have been faithful in a very little thing, you are to be in authority over ten cities.'” In his study notes on that verse John MacArthur comments, “Those with relatively small gifts and opportunities are just as responsible to us them faithfully as those who are given much more.”
So while it does seem that quantity of work counts for something, it’s having the quality of faithfulness and willingness to serve God as his true child that is more important. This could be the difference between someone that has a physical disability, where the most they can do is be a prayer warrior and someone who also prays, but is able to travel the world sharing the gospel. The point to both is that they are being faithful working within the boundaries of the life contexts/abilities/talents that the Lord has given to them.
Compare this idea to what is constantly barraging us from the world where we’re told if what you’re doing isn’t “big” and “bold” then “go home” ie you’re worthless. If you’re not “dreaming big” and “living your dreams” doing what you love, all while having a major impact on the world, it’s not worth it. There’s nothing wrong at the outset with these inspiring quotes, but if not given in the correct context, they’re absolutely devastating. The ugly side, is if you’re doing “small” work that society doesn’t value, such as a toilet scrubber or stay at home mom, developing in the womb, elderly or disabled in some way, you’re wasting your life and need to live “bigger” than that. I really hope this is making sense to you, lol. If not, feel free to comment 🙂 Perhaps these phrases could be biblcially ammended to say: “Live large in whatever you set your hand to do.”
Personally I’m a big dreamer and a very goal-orientated, big-impact kind of person. Yet time and time again, the Lord has put me in “small-time” scenarios to be faithful to use my gifts. Man, it hurts. More than hurting, this absolutely kills my flesh. When I’ve been in work situations, straightening soup cans on shelves, I’ve definitely been guilty of thinking, “Really Lord, this is it? These are the big plans you have for me?” Yet after repenting and thinking about the truth of the matter, the prayer changed to, “Lord, help me be faithful to you and glorify you, even in this mundane task.” What I learned in that situation and similar ones is that like a plant being pruned, when the flesh gets seared off, the personal growth in Christlikeness and knowing God grows by leaps and bounds.
And this I’ve come to learn as well: what “big” success is in God’s eyes. Question one of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: “What is the chief end of man? Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.” Also, have you ever noticed Bible verses that refer to what God’s “will” is for the Christian life, don’t actually have specific tasks listed, such as: be a superstar missionary, successful blogger or influential world-renown teacher? Rather they say to glorify God (Phil. 2:12–13), give thanks in all circumstances (1 Thes. 5:18), be holy (1 Thes. 4, 1 Pet 1), etc. At the same time we know that God does call his children to specific tasks, big and small, but they are all for the same end: God’s glory and the Christian’s santification/growth in Christlikenes.
So hopefully, while these things can be depressing and hard for our flesh to take, it’s inspring and motiviating to be the most faithful child you can be, whether the task God has before you is your passion/dream or not. Then at the end of our lives we can say with Paul: “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. From now on the crown of righteousness is laid up for me, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but to all who crave His appearing,” (2 Tim 4:6–8, ESV).