The biggest things I’ve done for the Kingdom have usually looked pitifully small by the world’s standards. The most heroic acts of faithfulness have usually looked like stupid acts of irrelevance to the watching world.
Following Jesus and investing your life in Kingdom impacting efforts may sometimes cost you. Is the cost worth it? Well, yes, but the pay off is often much later — sometimes even delayed until the next life.
It’s also lonely and you need to learn that you’re playing for an audience of One. There will be days when NOBODY pats you on the back, affirms your work or life’s direction and tells you you’re making a difference. But it’s not about “making a difference” but rather about being faithful to God’s call on your life, and leaving the results to God.
I spent 5 years substitute teaching in public schools around the metro area. It was the most thankless job ever, and very humbling as well. I was seeking the Lord, going through seminary at the time, and waiting for God to reveal my Kingdom mission. I grew impatient and discouraged. I felt like a loser. My old teachers in my hometown school must have wondered why I, who graduated near the top of my class, didn’t have a “real job” yet (after 5 years of subbing).
They didn’t know the larger story I was part of.
Then I spent 3 years in a drivers education classroom and behind the wheel with 15 year olds. “Right, left, pull over and park.” This was not fulfilling work — at all. But I swallowed my pride daily, trusted the Lord had bigger plans and I was just waiting to discover my call.
These two jobs, plus coaching basketball, all placed me in a unique position to reach the youth population of my hometown with the gospel. As I graduated seminary in 2005 I sensed a powerful call to start a ministry in Mound to reach the youth who were largely running away from the church.
In hindsight, God had a purpose for all of those years of subbing, driving lessons and coaching. God redeemed my years of doing seemingly insignificant jobs for no apparent purpose. There was a much bigger purpose, of which I was even ignorant at the time. So I walked by faith, not by sight.
Looking back, those “small” jobs would play a HUGE role in my eventual ministry. What was small by the world’s standards was in fact critically important for the Kingdom assignment God was calling me to.
I’ve been in youth ministry for several years now. I’ve made little money and have had to lead a simple life with a small income. Our life probably looks relatively unimpressive to the worldly observer. But that’s the way it will always be. God’s word is quite clear on this:
“Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? (1 Cor 1:27)
Let’s stop trying to impress people by worldly standards. Let’s stop trying to be successful by worldly definitions. Let’s remain faithful to the Kingdom mission before us, and let us live our lives for the glory of God and the furthering of the gospel, and keep swallowing our pride daily.
Kingdom success often looks like failure in the world’s eyes. In God’s economy, sometimes the smaller it looks, the bigger it really is.
So, what small unnoticeable things are you up to? Keep doing it and leave the results to God!