I remember a time when I wanted to do great things for God. I had this image of me preaching eloquent and elegant sermons to throngs of people. I fed myself on a steady diet of the great preachers of history and longed to be like them. One of my preaching heroes was Stephen Olford. I learned that he taught a course on preaching at his home in Memphis Tenn. So Linda and I packed the car and the whole family set off to Memphis to camp while I attended this course. It was a tremendous time except for the tornado! I learned the skills to craft a poetic and inspiring sermon and then I learned that such preaching was not for me! God did not want to make me a great preacher. He wants to make me a humble servant.
I have learned to appreciate the small things God calls me to in order that He may do his awesome things. A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from a guy who was feeling very stuck, in his life. We met at Tim’s and he poured out his life story and his hurt. I did nothing more than listen. He looked at me and invited me to give him ‘the answer’. I told him I didn’t know what I could do to help him in his situation but I did suggest that maybe we could ‘hang out’ together. He agreed and the next morning I picked him up and we went to the Study and Prayer time scheduled for that day. During the prayer time he offered a simple prayer thanking God for delivering him from life in a wheel chair. The following week I picked him up again and he shared how he had never prayed like that before and that he was experiencing a new freedom which he had never known.
I marvel that God can bring such freedom and I marvel that he uses such humble service to do his work! I cannot imagine a poetic sermon which would have had near the effect on this life as a simple listening ear and an offer of a ride. In our Street Hope community we put a high priority on “performing acts of kindness in the power of the Holy Spirit” and we are seeing positive changes come about that no sermon or program could duplicate.
When simple people simply live out the Gospel, God moves powerfully. When we abdicate our responsibility to and clear the field for the gifted professional we hinder that same movement. I am reminded again to continually choose the ‘little way’ for it is in the smallness of the mustard seed that the greatness of our King is best manifest.