Small Beginnings, Influencers, and Cupbearers

water glassI know I have written on this topic before, but it’s on my heart once again.

In the last thirty years or so, I have seen a mindset within the charismatic/prophetic church which has brought a great deal of discontentment and disillusion to some believers. It’s the emphasis on being somebody special — special in the sense of being more than everybody else. We’ve been encouraged to achieve “greatness.” Many of us have been given personal prophecies that we would be important “influencers;” “world-changers;” great evangelists, prophets, worship leaders, or whatever. In short, we’ve been molded into thinking that if we don’t have some kind of celebrity status, there is something wrong with us.

We’ve been told, “Don’t despise the day of small beginnings” — with the implication that we might start small, but it had better get bigger! We’re encouraged to serve first by cleaning toilets, because eventually our faithfulness will be noticed, and we will graduate to better things (where cleaning toilets is no longer part of our job description). I suppose it’s the same “dream big” mentality that pervades all of American society, where every little girl or boy theoretically has the potential of someday becoming President. We’ve just repackaged it a bit in Christianity.

Along the way, though, some have become sadly disappointed when these illusions of greatness did not materialize. They’ve given up, wondering what went wrong or where they failed. Still others continue to chase after that pot of gold (personal importance) at the end of the rainbow, while it always remains out of reach.

I suspect God never intended for us to have expectations of being a “somebody.” We already are somebodies in His eyes, because we are His sons and daughters. We are already “a royal priesthood, a holy nation” (1 Peter 2:9) of priceless value, just because we are His. I don’t think He ever wanted us to aim at graduating from scrubbing toilets into something “better.” Jesus washed His disciples’ feet, didn’t He? He said that in the Resurrection, He would seat us at the table and serve us (Luke 12:37). How amazing! Not even Jesus has graduated from serving. It is His eternal nature, and it must become ours.

A few days ago, I spent some time praying part of Ecclesiastes 9:10: “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might….” I promised the Lord that I would do whatever He brings to my hand, no matter how insignificant it might seem. For me right now, that means devoting myself to serving my elderly mother, making sure she feels loved and well taken care of. It means spending time listening to people, praying with them, answering their questions about spiritual things when I am able, and helping them in little ways here and there which are unlikely to be noticed on a grand scale. It means cherishing my husband and children. It also means that right now I can’t pursue some things I would have preferred to do if I had the time.

I see a lot of other Christians in the same position, some serving with greater dedication than I could ever hope to. Selfless giving in small ways is precious in the Lord’s sight, if we do it humbly and joyfully for Him. These acts of kindness, every bit as much as miracles, signs, and wonders, are the works and greater works which Jesus said we would do, in John 14:12. Don’t think so? Take another look at 1 Corinthians 13, with its message about noisy gongs and clanging symbols versus loving when the rubber meets the road.

Years ago, I taught a Bible verse to our small children when I put them to bed at night: “And whoever will give to one of these little ones a cup of cold water to drink, only in the name of a disciple, most assuredly I say to you, he shall in no wise lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). We recited this verse together over that last glass of water they requested before going to sleep at night. It’s a fun memory.

Whether you ever become well known or not, do with all your might whatever the Lord gives you, moment by moment. Don’t miss out on the many opportunities to serve Him and the people around you while you wait for some big destiny thing. And remember, giving that cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple, will be rewarded by the King, too.

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peace of mind

 

 

 

All-Surpassing Peace in a Shaking World,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

 

8 responses to “Small Beginnings, Influencers, and Cupbearers

  1. Powerful and poignant word.

    I too have heard words like “promotion” used in conjunction with certain individuals getting to speak at conferences and such. Corporate, business language. And witnessed many dear brothers and sisters from overseas with powerful ministries, but sometimes an inclination to want to take over rather than walking alongside others who’ve been humbling sowing here many years.

    How the Lord loves the humble heart. I am so thankful that my pastors are humble men who defer to one another and build up the other pastors in our region, regardless of denomination. And one dear Syrian brother whom we’re blessed to call a friend, his gift truly brings him before kings, had the opportunity to meet with President Assad this month. But this didn’t light him up nearly as much as the photos he showed of a recent baptism in his little congregation.

    That same verse you referenced from Ecclesiastes, I read two days ago. I am suddenly aware of the brevity of life – I sense its hairbreadth and fragility like no other time in my history – and wonder, “Am I doing enough to advance the kingdom? How many people have I pointed to Christ? What kind of an account will I give for my life?”

    Your blog speaks a mighty encouragement that what I am doing, although it often feels mundane, is what I am called to do, and it’s worthy so long as I am doing it with all my heart and strength.

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  2. P.S. I love the story about the verse you shared each night with your children and the glass of water. I have the Steve Green tune stuck in my head now, “If you want to be great in God’s kingdom, learn to be the servant of all” 🙂

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  3. Lee Ann,
    Thank you for the great insight!
    My input:
    Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven. Matthew 5:16
    This reinforces what you wrote on. Doing the simple things in life unto Christ. We don’t hear that Luke – the doctor – who traveled with Paul did any great wondrous miracles. Luke’s greatest work was the gospel attributed to him and Acts. What about the gospel writer Mark? Was he as dynamic as Paul? Evangelist Phillip was unique with signs and wonders. Yet, living a life for Christ, in Christ and doing all in the name of Jesus was and is the key point. Further, Paul instructed: “Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Ephesians 4:28. Paul did not tell them to out and do great signs and wonders, but only to do “the thing which is good”. The simple things of life. Yes, the greatest thought which Luke wrote in his gospel quoting Jesus, “Fear not, little flock, for it is our Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). This we seek on a daily basis in the simple act of life.
    Blessings & continued prayers!
    Costa

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    • Thanks for your insights, Costa! 🙂

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    • Thinking about this just a bit more:

      I think it is a balance, with devoted, day-by-day faithfulness and obedience being ever so important. But also, I think each one of us should desire the supernatural spiritual gifts earnestly. Mark 16:17-20 tells us that these signs shall follow those who believe (believe in Jesus) — among which are casting out demons in Jesus’ name and laying hands on the sick and they recover. Verse 20 concludes, “And they went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word with signs following.” 1 Corinthians 14:1 really sums up well the balance we need to have: “Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts….” So, every believer should pursue charitable love, as Jesus did, and every believer should also expect to move in the supernatural signs too.

      It’s exciting to realize that the Lord wants to work through each one of us, not just people in “official” ministry positions, don’t you think?

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  4. More thinking & commenting.
    In I Cor.2: 1-5 we do see Paul working in the power of the Holy Spirit. Not on his own strength or power since he was in weakness, fear, and trembling. It is very encouraging and comforting to read his words. ” And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. *** I Cor. 2 was today’s devotional reading for me! ***
    Yes, as you explained, we should seek the power of God – founded in love.
    Blessings & continued prayers!
    Costa

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