World’s greatest …

We tend to be impressed by those things and places that can claim to be the ‘world’s greatest.’  There’s a book for that, the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1951, Hugh Beaver, managing director of the Guinness Breweries, went hunting in Ireland.  He missed a shot which launched an argument about the ‘fastest’ game bird. In a pub later that evening he realized that no authoritative source existed and the idea for the book was born. 

Wikipedia says “Beaver knew that there must have been numerous other questions debated nightly in pubs throughout Ireland and abroad, but there was no book in the world with which to settle arguments about records. He realized then that a book supplying the answers to this sort of question might prove successful.” Since The Guinness Book of Records was first published in August 1954, a 100 million copies have been sold!  Such is our love of all things amazing.

Many of us tend to think that the best Christians must be people of stellar abilities, who do great things, gaining the admiration of many. In our ordinary lives, we might be tempted to think our faith is inconsequential, our influence for His Kingdom non-existent. Jesus says otherwise. “The Kingdom of Heaven is like a mustard seed planted in a field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but it becomes the largest of garden plants; it grows into a tree, and birds come and make nests in its branches.” Jesus also used this illustration: “The Kingdom of Heaven is like the yeast a woman used in making bread. Even though she put only a little yeast in three measures of flour, it permeated every part of the dough.”  (Matthew 13:31-33, NLT)

Our faith, inspired by the Holy Spirit, is like a seed that just grows! If you take a little seed, a package of potential life and place in the earth, providing it with moisture and heat, it will germinate sending up a shoot that grows, and grows, and grows.  Ever tripped over a sidewalk’s slab of concrete that is displaced by the roots of a tall maple tree?  That mighty force began with a little seed that grew! Ever looked over a garden filled with produce that will feed many? Those plants started from little seeds.  

Jesus occasionally did big, impressive miracles to attract attention of the crowds;  but the greater work of the Kingdom was the seed of Truth that He planted in the hearts and minds of people.  That truth still accomplishes a quietly persistent influence around the world in individual lives. When we respond to Christ’s invitation with faith and begin to live in the Spirit, that Truth will change us:  sinners into saints. Christians who live their faith can and do transform entire cultures. The influence of the Kingdom of God will make the world a new and different place. 

A few of us may grow into world-class evangelists or have the opportunity to invent a medicine that saves millions. One of us might write a book that becomes a best-selling source of information for thousands. Most of us will live a life of quiet influence, loving God, loving others, living our faith consistently for Christ, largely in obscurity.  That does not mean we are without value to Him.

On this Monday morning, I want to encourage you to renewed faith in God’s desire to use you. Ask Him to help you to be faithful where you are. Mom are you feeling fairly useless as a Christian because so much of your time is devoted to wiping little noses and cleaning up after toddlers? For this time, your place of service is right in front of you.  Perhaps you feel stuck in a job that is dull. That place is your place of influence. It may be that you are limited by sickness or mostly at home because of age. Your faith is still alive, your prayers still a force with which the world must reckon!

Trust God to work through you with the persistent power potential that is in the seed of His Truth. 

Receive it with thanksgiving.
Water it with prayer and reflection. 
Let the Spirit change YOU, inside out;
and then He can change YOUR world through you.

Godly character will surely grow!   He may choose to do big, impressive miracles through you, even in you. However, most of the time His work will done quietly, over time, like the growth of a seed into a fruitful tree.  Don’t be discouraged by the slow pace of change.  Don’t let charlatans seduce you with promises of spiritual transformation resulting from quick and easy techniques.  Instead, be steady. You never know just how your faith is working in your family, in your circle of friends, in the community where you live.

Here’s a word from the Word, full of promise. I pray it will stir new confidence in you, helping you to wait on His will steadily.

“Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked,
or stand around with sinners, or join in with scoffers.

But they delight in doing everything the Lord wants;
day and night they think about his law.

They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season without fail.
Their leaves never wither, and in all they do, they prosper.

But this is not true of the wicked.
They are like worthless chaff, scattered by the wind.
They will be condemned at the time of judgment.
Sinners will have no place among the godly.

For the Lord watches over the path of the godly,
but the path of the wicked leads to destruction.”
(Psalm 1, NLT)

___________________

Take My Life And Let It Be
( a prayer in song for this Monday morning! )

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee
Take my hands and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love

Take my feet and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee

Take my voice and let me sing
Always only for my King


Take my lips and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee

Take my silver and my gold
Not a mite would I withhold

Take my life and let it be
Consecrated Lord to Thee

Take my heart and let it be
Dedicated Lord to Thee

Take my love my Lord I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store
Take myself and I will be
Ever only for my King

Frances Ridley Havergal | Henri Abraham Cesar Malan
© Words: Public Domain

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