Thursday, July 10, 2014

{Truth Thursday} Feeling small?

Assisting and partnering with my husband in the Youth Ministry of our church has allowed me to meet many amazing and inspiring and I dare say, great, Christians. I am always blessed with their testimonies on how God is working in their lives and how faithful they have been, despite the difficulties. 

At the same time, observing my husband tackle his role as a youth worker in church has allowed me to see the many big tasks and challenges the Lord has placed and  allowed to be conquered by His grace. 

Very recently, we had a Youth Retreat for all young people in church (and some of their invited friends) and I was just amazed at how the Lord equipped my husband to make everything possible. Being a government employee from 8am-5pm, the only thing that I could actually do was to prepare my lecture on Submission to Authorities and relevant laws for the youth of today and to show up at the venue. Even the packing of our things has to be done by my dear husband. 

Because of this, I sometimes would feel too small of myself when it comes to the ministry. Because I have a deceitful and sinful heart very much prone to the enticements of the enemy, there were times that I would feel discouraged and I would even question my worth as a worker in God's Kingdom. 

I feel too small. Unimportant. Very much disposable. Insignificant. 

There are times that I would secretly wish I had the humor and wit of another so it would be easier for me to share the Gospel. At times, too, I'd feel bad about myself not being capable of doing great things for the Lord, not being able to lead a large group Bible study, not being able to treat young people to more expensive cafes and restos, not being able to be fashionably updated so I can relate more with them, etc. In short, I hated myself, the one God created me to be.  

Of course, as I have stated in the earlier paragraph, this problem stems in my heart. 

And I am so thankful that the Lord always knows the depths of my heart and His Truth (the Bible) is always there to heal my insecurities. 

I am currently re-reading the Book of Acts in my morning devotional and sometime last month, I was in Chapter 6 where the story of Stephen starts. I have always been fascinated by the life of Stephen and how the Bible describes him: a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit. Later, he is then described to have the face that looked like an angel. 

But who is Stephen by the way?

In Chapter 6, his name is mentioned as one of the seven men chosen by the 12 disciples for the daily distribution of foods among the believers. Because this concern on daily food distribution was entrusted to them, the disciples were able to devote themselves to prayer and ministry of the word and the word of God spread that even the high priests believed in Jesus Christ.

In the next verses, we learned that Stephen did amazing wonders and miracles because he was full of God's grace and power. This made some men oppose him and when they could not outdo Stephen's wisdom from the Spirit, they planned to have Stephen eliminated. Chapter 7 and Chapter 8 narrate Stephen's speech before the Sanhedrin and his death by stoning. 

What the New Living Translation (NLT) Life Application Bible mentions about Stephen is quite enlightening. What was highlighted in the Commentary/Notes is the fact that I have (and I believe most of us have) neglected many times--Stephen started serving the Lord in the daily distribution of food for all of the believers!

Yes, he, along with the other six men, distributed food among the believers on a day to day basis. Sounds boring, right? Insignificant? Small? A task too negligible to be appreciated? Without batting an eyelash, I would probably say yes to all. 

But Stephen was not chosen to do this seemingly "small" task because he was less important. In fact, he was chosen because he met the criteria: full of the Spirit and wisdom. 

Another thing that struck me here is the fact that Stephen did not complain when he was given that "small" task of distributing food. For my very limited human view, I would have considered such task too menial and too un-spiritual. But hey, if we look closely to the verses, the Gospel spread rapidly because the 12 disciples were able to devote to the word and the ministry of the word and this was because Stephen and the six men were faithful to their seemingly "small" and menial task of food distribution. 

Later on, we see Stephen's life being used greatly by God. He was the first to die for Jesus Christ and because of his death, the believers were scattered; thus, the Gospel spread throughout Judea and Samaria and around the world. His death profoundly impacted Saul, a staunch persecutor of the Christians, who was later on converted to the faith and became the amazing Paul. 

Such is the dynamics of the early church. God has placed every single soul for a purpose. There was no superstar complex nor did the believers compete with each other neither did they compare themselves with one another. There was no small or big task.

They simply did their job with so much love and faithfulness for Jesus Christ. 

Because the truth is, the Lord does not look at how big our task is or how great our performance of our ministry is. More than anything else, He cares at our faithfulness, even on things that might come as "small" to our limited human standards. 

So, whether we only wash dishes in church, or we are assigned with the distribution of giveaways, or we are merely the LCD projector operator during Sundays, (or even if we are not yet involved in the ministry but we merely pray and study the Word)--let's do it with so much love and faithfulness to our King! 

No task is ever too small to Him. And He knows when and how to promote those who are faithful.

I pray that today, if you are reading this, you will be blessed by the Word of God through the life of Stephen and that the next time you feel small, you will think of this truth: God does not care at the size of our ministry; He cares at our faithfulness. 

Happy {Truth Thursday}!

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