Little pink flowers at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Little is much

Do you want to do something amazing for God? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you’re okay with sitting on the sidelines and never jumping into a ministry, and that’s okay if you’re satisfied with a life that doesn’t make a real difference. But if you’re the kind of Christ-follower who wants God to be pleased, what do you do with yourself?

I know some people who are able to give financially to the things that God is doing around the world. And I’m not just talking a few dollars here and there. But not everyone can do that, including me. Others jump into full-time ministry and get to serve God for their actual job, and that sounds amazing. But not everyone can do that either. The rest of us have responsibilities, and while you don’t have to have any special qualifications to go into full-time ministry, it does need to be something God has called you to do.

So how can you do something amazing for God if you can’t give lots of money or you aren’t in full-time ministry?

Little pink flowers at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Little pink flowers at Safe Haven Farm, Haven, KS

Today’s verses are Philippians 2:16-18.

Hold firmly to the word of life; then, on the day of Christ’s return, I will be proud that I did not run the race in vain and that my work was not useless. But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God, just like your faithful service is an offering to God. And I want all of you to share that joy. Yes, you should rejoice, and I will share your joy.

I get frustrated because I can’t do more for God. I try to squeeze things into my calendar until I’m so overwhelmed with busyness I don’t even know which end is up anymore. What stood out to me in this verse this morning is a pretty simple concept: Faithful service is an offering to God.

See that?

Paul is talking about how he will be proud that his work and sacrifice was useful if the people of the Church of Philippi hold on to the truth, and even if he were to die, he would still rejoice. The way Paul looked at it, his life was an offering to God. And, while I think we should all look at our lives that way, we shouldn’t discount how important our willingness to serve is to God.

Are you doing something to serve other people right now? Do you look at it as something that doesn’t matter? Something that’s not important? That’s a lie. If you are helping someone else, you’re a hero. If you are offering your love and hard work to help another person, you’re awesome. That’s not something you have to do. That’s not something you can be forced to do. That’s something you choose to do, and if you do it faithfully, over and over and over, when it isn’t requested and when it hurts you financially and emotionally, don’t think that God doesn’t notice.

He does.

So be encouraged. Because the one thing that can please God is faith (Hebrews 11:6). If you’re faithful in your service to others in the name of Christ, you will make a difference for God. And even if the difference you’re making is small, God has a habit of taking small things and making them huge.

The Bible is full of stories where God took something small and used it to change the world.

So if you’re tired and weary from the work you’re doing, don’t give up. Keep working. Keep trusting. And keep everything in perspective because even if you are only able to do a little, God can take that little and do awesome things with it. That’s who He is. That’s who He was in the Old Testament. That’s who Christ introduced us to in the New Testament. And that’s who is here today. He’ll be here tomorrow too.

Don’t give up. There’s an old hymn called “Little Is Much When God Is In It” and I’ve got it stuck in my head at the moment because it’s so true. Part of living a happy life is putting others before yourself, and part of putting others before yourself is service. And anyone can serve. You can hold doors for people. You can help people carry groceries. You can listen to a friend when they need to talk. You can pray.

Don’t take any of those “small” things for granted. Because they aren’t small to the person who you’re helping, and they’re not small to God either.

Two turtles at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Working together

I used to hate projects at school when I had to team up with a group. Group projects made me cringe inside, usually because I ended up carrying the project. There were a few times when I didn’t, when everyone worked hard and carried their own load, but those times were few and far between.

Have you ever worked together with someone and felt frustrated because they finished first? Or because it was like they got their work done and got to move on to something else? Or they completed their part first and got their grade or their bonus or their positive feedback before you did because the part you’re working on is more complicated?

Two turtles at the Sedgwick County Zoo - Wichita, KS

Two turtles at the Sedgwick County Zoo – Wichita, KS

Today’s verse is 1 Corinthians 3:8

The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.

It’s easy to lose focus when you’re working in pairs or in a group because you start to compare your work with someone else’s work. But you shouldn’t do that, especially in ministry.

I work in a marketing department as a copywriter, so I am involved in just about every single project that my group puts out. We do magazines. We do brochures. We do web content. We do pamphlets, press releases, news articles, trade show booths. You name it; if it’s got any sort of writing on it, I touch it. The ones I don’t look at are the technical documents, but that’s about it.

My part in these projects is usually long and drawn out because I have to get everyone to agree on the way phrase specific product descriptions. The graphic designers have to design it. The coordinator has to make sure everyone signs off. But we don’t all work on it together, kind of like planting and watering mentioned in today’s verse. If you try to water a field before the seeds are planted, you’re wasting your time. But if you plant your seeds, they need to be watered. You can’t move on to the second part until the first part is complete. Kind of like building a brochure in my marketing group; the designers can’t place photos until I write the copy; the coordinator can’t get signoffs until the photos and the copy are in place.

And when each of us finish our part of the project, we can take it easy (theoretically speaking). When each of us finish our part to the best of our ability, we receive our own individual reward.

The same is true in ministry. My church is gearing up for a huge outreach drama that we do every year called Judgement House, and there will be a lot of people working together on my church’s property. I think this verse is important to remember for ministry especially because in ministry it’s very very easy to compare roles. Judgement House is a great example because there are so many facets to it.

There are actors. There are directors. There are tour guides. There are concession workers. There are greeters. There are prayer walkers and security and cleaners and parking lot people. There are the awesome ladies who prepare food for the cast to eat. And every single person is essential. Not one person is more important than the other because we can’t do Judgement House without every person being involved.

But it’s easy for a tour guide (for example) to start thinking that they’re hot stuff. Because they’re visible. Because they’re obvious. Because people see them and notice them. … But I guarantee that Mr. Hot Stuff Tour Guide wouldn’t be able to be a tour guide if the invisible woman in the kitchen didn’t come in early from work to prepare a hot meal for the Tour Guide to eat. And Mr. Hot Stuff Tour Guide wouldn’t be nearly so hot if the invisible prayer walker wasn’t interceded for him, or if the security guard wasn’t helping to hold doors and keep the groups calm, or if the cleaners weren’t helping keep the bathrooms in shape.

See what I’m saying?

No role is more important than another. Everyone works together, or we should. We shouldn’t compare. We are all working for the same purpose, like two farmers working in a field. One is planting; one is watering. Maybe the farmer who plants gets finished first; maybe he gets paid first. But the whole harvest won’t come in until the crops get water. So maybe the farmer who does the watering gets paid later. But both of their roles are essential, and if they focus on the fact that they’re both out in the field for the same reason, maybe they won’t compare each other.

So if you’re at work or you’re in a ministry (like Judgement House) and you’re tempted to compare your job with someone elses? Don’t.

You are positioned where you are for a reason. You have gifts and skill sets that mean only you can do your job right now at this moment. Don’t be jealous of someone else. Don’t be defensive or protective. Just do your job the best you can, and let God sort out the rest.

A decision to move forward

Well, the decision has been made.  Lord willing, I’ll be directing a dinner theatre/melodrama at the beginning of May.  The script is one of mine, called A Wild Goose Chase and it’s specifically intended to allow families with disabled children to come adn participate.  All along we’ve been hoping to perform as a fund raiser for Families Together, a not-for-profit that provides resources and education for families with disabled children.

I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with my schedule, but it looks like it will work out.

Auditions are tentatively scheduled for March 10, but there’s a freakin’ load of work that needs to be done before we get there.  In one month, I’ve got to:

1. Find a venue to perform (whether it’s off campus or at the church) – this is the most important right now
2. Set a performance date
3. Designate a rehearsal schedule
4. Pick an assistant director, a stage manager, a costume manager, a prop manager, a publicity manager, a ticket manager, a food manager, a fund manager (or a producer), and a few others who are very important

Only after those things are finished can we hold the auditions, cast characters, and begin rehearsals.

I think this is going to be a lot of fun, and I’m really praying that it can help a lot of people.