Star in the sky tonight
Shine on my pathway with your pure light
Lead me on to the wondrous sight
Of the child King
Lead me on to His hideaway
Sleeping there in a bed of hay
Who would think that a child so small
Could be the King of all
And we will bow down and worship Him
Bow down to the child King
All creation redeemed through Him
While the angels sing Hosanna, Hallelujah, Glory to the Child King
(from “Star” by 2nd Chapter of Acts)
I wonder at the small things. I wonder at how God often wanted things smaller, not bigger. “The people who are with you are too many for Me.” (Judges 7:2) For example, the small in movie entertainment. The movie “War of the Worlds” shows how the smallest organisms helped defeat a foreign foe. Many saw either the old version or the new one. In this movie it is the small that conquers the invading spacemen. None of our technology works against them, but it is tiny bacteria in our blood that brings the monsters down.
In the wars, the small submarine got through and got victories that the battleship and aircraft carrier could not. The spy, reporting news from a small radio, delivered the most valuable information that turned the war’s tide.
What do we often see as the smallest resource, hence the last to be used? Prayer. We have insurance, we have medicine in the cabinet, our investments have been gathering over many years, books tell us how to conquer a certain ailment, and friends tell us what they did to get better. Then some weird, rare bird comes along and says “why not pray”? So funny—many think that prayer is the last thing to do, the smallest thing to consider, yet prayer hooks us up with the Greatest of All.
Does it occur to us that to many, prayer is indeed the smallest tool in the drawer and therefore the last to be drawn out? Yet the small of God often shows forth the greatest. A small stone was used to kill Goliath when large lances and swords could have been used.
Here are some small ways…God and all.
The Nativity Night
“Who could believe that a babe so small could be the King of all?” (from the song “Star” by Second Chapter of Acts) Who was the smallest that night? Who did the star point to? A newborn was the smallest. Yet He was the King, the greatest of all. And He still is.
As we age . . .
As we get older we are getting smaller. I don’t like that. My last medical check-up revealed that I have shrunk an inch! Does that really matter?
God goes from sumo wrestlers to racehorse jockeys. Some folks can fit where others cannot (like in those airplane seats in economy class.)
We are going smaller
People as they get older move out of the bigger house. Something smaller works better. Now our cars are going smaller. They can find a parking space much easier, too.
They say that small business is creating between 80 and 90 percent of our new jobs. Many like dealing with them, and working for them, and many more are starting their own. They have a “niche”, and can stay small while doing a great job and having a great time doing it. Unlike large corporate CEO’s they have put up their own funds, and every day their business is their name and it is on the line.
Other small creations
People who live in the woods will tell you that the bear fears nothing . . . except one animal. The little skunk. The skunk can drink in front of him, even take some of his food, and the bear will politely watch.
Missions is going smaller
You cannot reach a lot of the world’s peoples doing big things. We Americans don’t get it. “Send in the battleship.” “Send in a big crusade.” “So and so is on national TV now!” Surely the big plane full of relief supplies is going to make a mark; it often does. Yet travel to the nations and it is the small of God, the one person, the small group in mighty prayer, that is bringing Muslims and so many others into the Kingdom.
In America we have learned that 83% of the people in church today are brought by the influence of one friend or family member. Hundreds of millions of dollars in “church growth resources” could have been saved if we just learned, and then prepared our people to minister like this.
“The Gangs of Four”
This is how China penetrated its more than a billion people. Groups of four, being discipled, with each one reaching four more. Such a structure has proved impossible to break. Funds, large organizations, complicated theological majors: none seem to be very necessary here. Talk about small bringing down the big! Why such a tiny infrastructure to reach the world’s largest nation? Talk to the God of the small about it. My friend Dennis Balcombe tells me that small titles are also needed in China. Have a big title, like “Apostle Dr.”? The police will arrest you first!
The One on One missionary
While in France I heard about him through my missionary friend Jack– though not his name. People like this do not want to be known; they are successful in their anonymity. They want to remain small. Yet this man had led, last time I heard, over 180 Muslims to Christ, one at a time. Muslims don’t go to crusades, to big meetings, to get saved in droves. They are coming for the most part one at a time.
It is said that the first century church had a reach that no other church has had, reaching half the Roman Empire in a century with none of our technology. Yet they did it without big buildings. For the first 200 years of church history there were no church buildings. So it was done in the small place, in the home.
Few big, mega churches are in contact with us. Most of our work is being done through smaller churches. Study the brochures of the biggest and it is hard to find any references to the prayer meeting and missions. Yet praying, “going out” folks are slowly, gradually bringing the nations to Him. Grains of yeast are indeed small, yet when they have done their work the whole loaf is risen (Matt. 13:33).
In my reading about them, I am discovering that many of them handle finances better. Many large ministries consume sizeable percentages of the offerings sent to them, preserving their organizations and paying for overhead—offices, payroll, publicity costs and more. Here at River of Life we spend zero on publicity. Many small businesses do the same, working only on a person-to-person, referral basis. This is actually God’s call. He says “Know them that labor among you.” (I Thess. 5:12-13) Going into the nations small, the resources I carry go 100% to where they are needed, to national churches, those who know the culture and are “on the ground”, personally seeing and being touched by the need.
God so loved the world that He sent more than a newsletter, a radio broadcast, a business card or a book; He sent a living person to touch. I hear more and more about “technological” ministries’ ability to get the job done. I am sorry; it doesn’t work that way. “You know what manner of men we proved to be among you.” (I Thess. 2:8-12, II Tim. 3:10-11)
God’s way of ministry has always been through people, not just written words or signal waves or internet-based teaching resources. Right now I am helping some churches with their Bible schools and they are telling me they don’t want internet or correspondence schools. They want a live person talking to, living before, relating to them. A Gospel preaching and living church, within every ethnic group, is still the task and the mission and goal.
Some PERSON, usually a small one at that, still has to go—someone still small enough in his own sight to let the Almighty be and do great things through him. “Though you were little in your own eyes, the Lord anointed you.” (I Sam. 15:17) Maybe God is calling you and me to get just a little bit smaller.