Let me share with you a passage I recently read from Jeremy Driscoll’s book A Monk’s Alphabet…
“Often I am kept from acting in important matters because I feel that either I do not have the qualifications to be involved or I wonder what power I have to effect a difference. On this latter point I should reflect on how the smallest ingredient introduced into a situation can eventually produce a significant change. Thus, to act! To act even in a small way on an important matter! As for qualifications, I should work to be as qualified as possible to deal with the matter at hand; and if I cannot be largely qualified, then I can act in a small way according to what qualifications I may have. On the deepest level it is not qualifications that matter but that God accept the offering of our action and bring it to completion, for next to God and his purposes we are all, in all matters, severely under qualified. Yet He uses us…” (pg.143)
Does everything around you seem to be small? Maybe you have a small church, small offerings, small resources, small dreams. Perhaps it seems like every church around you is bigger, doing more than your church. Driscoll reminds us of a kingdom principle: little things can do a lot. Remember Jesus’ words about leaven? Sure…he used this in the negative, but the truth (small things can have a big effect) is the same. In another place Jesus spoke of a mustard seed being the smallest of seeds but though so small it can still grow into a tree large enough for birds to rest in. A little can do a lot.
You might feel under qualified. You might say to yourself, “I wonder what the pastor of that larger church knows that I don’t know? What gift-mix does he have that I’m lacking? After all…his church is big, he must have some key that I don’t have.”
Let me tell you something. The pastor of the larger church is severely under qualified. And so are you. We’re all under qualified…yet He uses us.
You might only have ten people staring back at you on a Sunday but if you’re teaching them, loving them, discipling them, providing them a model to follow, then they, no matter how small, will go out and effect their world. You don’t know who one of your members will win to Christ, and they then turn around and win one, who wins one, and another, and on and on. A little can do a lot.
Don’t try to stay small and don’t try to be big. Small is not intrinsically bad, nor is big intrinsically good. What matters is faithfulness to what God has called you to whether it be big or small. What needs to be big, what needs to grow is a stubborn conviction that we are making a difference in the lives God allows us to touch.
Do you pastor a smaller church? Then do it well. Your churches impact is not contingent upon it’s size or your own personal qualifications. Never underestimate God’s ability to take something small and use it in a big way. And leave the definition of “a big way” up to God. A little can do a lot.
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