© November 28, 2018 | Schulter Etyang
There is an insatiable demand in life and for those of us in Christian ministry to do big things for God. The “big God, big dream” mantra is so alluring that everything less is deemed ungodly. This view has produced Charismatic Christians who refuse or are unwilling to start small. They will not sell themselves short. They might quote this scripture, “Do not despise these small beginnings,” (Zechariah 4:10 NLT) but it is just that, a quote. How they lead their lives tells a different narrative.
I know of Charismatic Christians who will not pursue an opportunity they assume is insignificant for them. When you listen to their hopes and dreams, wow, you will want to crawl under your bed and hide. Their prayers are grandiose. The terminology employed to lay out the vision for their lives is preposterous.
How is this varied from the world‘s way of doing things? The world, yes, does big things. Beyonce’s concerts, the Danube Island Festival, the IPO listing has to attract big money for the venture to kick off. Beyoncé is not just singing to a few people. No. Her concerts must be huge.
The world thinks big. They shoot for the moon and land among the stars. They think big. Small ideas don’t have a chance. In the 21st century, no big company listed in the New York Stock Exchange started small. If there are, they are the exception. Most of them had some big investment from a benefactor or the IPO was successful.
When this same course of thinking permeates Christendom, Houston we have a problem. Unfortunately, it‘s true. This thinking has become our way of doing things within the Charismatic movement – a tribe in Pentecostalism that I am honoured to be part of.
But Jesus in Matthew 13 shatters this line of reasoning. He teaches us how grace works. He teaches us what his kingdom looks like.
Matthew 13:31-33 (LITV)
He put another parable before them, saying: The kingdom of Heaven is compared to a grain of mustard, which taking, a man sowed in his field; which indeed is less than all the seeds, but when it is grown it is greater than the plants, and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the heaven come and roost in its branches. He spoke another parable to them: The kingdom of Heaven is compared to leaven, which taking, a woman hid in three measures of meal until the whole was leavened.
Matthew 13 is in effect a treatise on small things.
A sower sowed seed, a man sowed good seed, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed, the Kingdom of Heaven is like leaven. All are small and work in obscurity (out of sight). But when the mustard seed sprouts, its greater than the plants. The leaven, after a few minutes, makes the bread to double in size.
This is what grace, the currency of the Kingdom of Heaven, does. Grace starts small. Jesus by his Spirit implants his grace in your heart, nothing happens for a time, but when the fruit appears, it’s there for all to see. The transformation is there for all to see.
This principle extends to life. Every opportunity that comes to us will appear dressed up as small. We have small starts at jobs, schools, business, relationships, etc., but then we grow. Sometimes we may remain small for a long time. Like the mustard seed and leaven, we may be in obscurity—out of sight—covered for a long time, but when our fruit appears, everyone gasps.
Ministries whose exclusive focus is Jesus and his grace, start small and may for many years not have any remarkable things taking place. They may go unrecognized, under the radar for most of the time. They call no attention to themselves. But when the fruits appear, oh my God, the fruits are implausible. Contrast this to John the Baptist type ministries. They start life and ministry in a dramatic fashion. John the Baptist was in the desert, wore camel’s skin, and ate locusts and wild honey. Thousands flocked to listen to him and were baptized. He grew into a threat to the religious order of his time. John the Baptist type ministries begin with a bang but most fizzle out.
The risk of going big or going broke is you have to sustain it yourself. Dreaming big requires your complete engagement and nothing else. It’s all up to you. Your character, credibility, education, skills, and capital you borrowed are all on the line. If you fail, the reactions are huge. Grace, on the other hand, inspires you to dream big, but also comes near to help your dreams come true. Grace will not leave you to your own devices. Grace will not let you bear the weight alone.
Christian, this is a brief post to encourage you to start small. Don’t try too hard to make it to the big leagues. Even if you wish to shake off an addiction, set up a business, date a guy or girl, start a new job on a lower level, immigrate to a new country, remarry after divorce, lose weight, study again, start small. When you believe in grace, your things may start small, but soon bear fruit and much fruit. (John 15)
That’s what grace looks like