First, Just Barely All of our lives, Marilyn and I have found that ministry is a just barely kind of thing. There is just barely enough energy to do a given activity. Just barely enough money to get what is needed. Just barely enough schmultz to pull something off, get it finished, see it through. Just barely enough gifting from God to accomplish a given objective. If your lives are like ours, you are just barely pushing back the frontiers of darkness. I don’t know how it is with you, but that’s the way it goes here for us.
Second, Hidden Over the years as we have served people, we have struggled with, “Why don’t they get it?” “Why don’t they step up?” “Get involved?” “Lord we are working as diligently as we can to the point of exhaustion, yet there seems to be so little progress, so little growth in the lives of the people into whom we are pouring ourselves.”
Concerning this matter, we have been instructed and given perspective by two passages in Luke: 9:43-45 and 18:31-34. Please read them. Everyone who works with people needs to understand that some of what they tell people remains “hidden” from them. So they do not “get it.” It does not sink in. They do not change. You know a lot of people who are not changing. So do we. Sin has made us all slow; maybe even stupid.
Insight, discipleship, spiritual progress happen on God’s timetable, not mine.
For example, I do not think I fully understand what happened to me in February, 1965, when I was redeemed. Only slowly am I understanding more about the cross and what our Lord did for me (us). We learn so slowly. We get smart so slowly. May the Lord grace you to skip a couple of grades and leap forward in your awareness and insight. And may Luke 9 and 18 enable you to be patient as you wait for God to open the minds and lives of people you are serving.
Third, Broken When Jesus fed the 5000, the only human resource was a little boy’s lunch. Five loaves and two fish. Jesus took the loaves and broke them into pieces. Regarding the broken loaves, chapel speaker Ruth Stull, missionary to Peru, said, “If my life was broken when it was given to Jesus, it is because pieces will feed a multitude, while a loaf will satisfy only a little boy.”*
*Quoted from an Elisabeth Elliott radio message.