1 Corinthians 1:27 ESV, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong.”
Mark 10:27 Jesus said, “With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.”
Wrestling with the current climate in our nation, the intensity of the global landscape and the logistical challenges of recent years have been intense on so many levels. These factors impact us across the physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual spectrum. Sometimes the clamor, chaos and content overload can simply be overwhelming and make one feel small and insignificant in our own eyes. With needs so great, arguments so loud and a world in such disarray, in examining the magnitude of the issues, one may wonder, “Can our church, can our ministry really make a difference?”
Yes. Never underestimate the valuable and important difference you make in every life you touch. Yet, I know I’m really good at doing just that. Most of us are. We look out and see the many challenges. We know the desires of what we’d like to do and the impact that we’d like to make and believe we should be making. Maybe we are so diligently working and preparing to make that next big impact that we overlook the step right in front of us to take.
This isn’t just true of challenges we are faced within our communities. Sometimes I’ll see what others are doing to care for their members or reach their communities and I’m simply in awe. Too often though, that awe has been followed with the various reasons why that wouldn’t work for us or how we lack the logistical, financial or personnel resources to do the same. Last year, I even felt a little sorry for myself when I saw the report of how much food one church in our community was giving each month to a local food bank. Their monthly donation was more than what we were stretching and believing God to do for the entire year. One moment I felt so blessed and proud of our local church family who were actively and incredibly responding as the Church in our community, then I saw those numbers and felt so small in my own eyes. I thought, “Lord, I know you asked us to stretch and purposefully raise this amount of food but with what that other church is doing, are we really making a difference?”
In moments like these, we must never forget that the impact we make today has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow. Everything we do has some effect, some impact and so does every person we minister to. We are making a difference. It might be good to stop and just remind yourself of that right now. “I am making a difference. My church/ministry is making a difference.”
Regular people & regular churches/ministries are doing remarkable things. Don’t ever minimize the reality that every conversation, every message, every project and every outreach are opportunities to impact eternity. There are unlikely heroes all around us. People and churches are affecting what eternity will look like because they decided to step outside of their personal comfort zone and do something for God.
Now is a great time to pause and revisit the origin story of what God has asked of you; to reflect and hit the re-set button, revisiting the purpose and divine mission for your church/ministry to make sure that the rhythm of our lives is sync’d to the heartbeat of Heaven.
When I think of regular people doing remarkable things, I think of people like Gideon. Guys that went from zeroes to heroes because they battled through their own insecurity and inferiority long enough to obey God. I consider those like Rahab. She went from harlot to heroine. Boldly turning her back on a life, lifestyle and community that was all she knew but she took a stand on behalf of God’s people. She was even listed in the Hebrews 11 Heroes of Faith Hall of Fame. What about the Gadarene Demoniac? He went from maniac to missionary after encountering Jesus and surrendering himself to God’s will. This man went to his hometown and told his family and friends everything the Lord had done for him (Mark 5:19-20). The examples go on and on. David went from shepherd to King. Saul/Paul was an adversary turned advocate. Abraham, Noah, Moses, Peter, Matthew, Mary, Ruth and Esther were all rather unlikely heroes that did remarkable things.
These were vastly different people with different life experiences. Yet, they all did things that incredibly impacted eternity. I doubt any of them particularly understood or felt like they were making a difference in the moment, however, they all simply obeyed God and did what He asked them to do. Most of them were even a bit reticent and obeyed Him rather reluctantly.
Those unlikely heroes couldn’t imagine or accurately measure the scope of their impact and neither can you. What we can measure is how obedient we are to what God has asked us and our churches/ministries to do? Don’t stop. Don’t quit. Don’t let yourself be discouraged. Do what is set before you to do. Do what He’s asked you.
No matter the scope of the outreach, project or altar call, the opportunity to change eternity exists in every seed of God’s Word and is present in His Love which we share. The harvest is plentiful (Matthew 9:37). Each opportunity is one to change eternity, so don’t allow yourself to become fatigued (Galatians 6:9-10). And keep pressing toward the finish with everything you’ve got (Hebrews 12:1-2), because what you do today has a powerful rippling effect on every tomorrow.
Someone once said, “Heroes are not giant statues framed against a red sky. They are people who say, ‘This is my community, & it’s my responsibility to make it better.’” (Tom McCall, 1913-1983).