By Elizabeth Prata
Do you feel like you want to make an impact for the Kingdom, but you’re insignificant and what you’re doing amounts to nothing? Do you feel like the glories you share about Christ fall on deaf ears, passed over and powerless?
When we love Christ, we do our best to proclaim Him in whatever way the Lord gives us to do so, and as much as we can. But the Christian walk oftentimes is one of plodding, and as we tread through the days on our calendar, sometimes we might feel like though our hearts burst with love and dedication, our sphere is too small to make any difference at all. We are not a mighty redwood, but a small ant.
Oh, but it is not so! You never know where our words will go. Sometimes, insignificant us will say or do something that the Lord will take to amazing places for maximum impact! Let’s look at three examples.
Naaman was commander of the army of the king of Aram. He was well thought of and valiant, but he had leprosy. In one of his forays, his army had captured “a little girl” from Israel. Now a slave, she served Naaman’s wife. The little girl had heard of Elisha’s miracles and thus knew of the one True God. She said to Naaman’s wife: “And she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! Then he would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:3),
We know the rest of the story. Naaman’s wife must have heard the sincerity in the “little girl’s” voice and did not discount her words. She repeated them to her husband. So Naaman wrote a letter to the king of Israel and departed right away with gifts to bestow in his pursuit of wellness. And not only did things turn out healthy for Naaman (after a few bumps in the road,) but in the end, “And he said, “Behold now, I know that there is no God in all the earth, except in Israel;” and further, he gave up all his pagan idols immediately, even begging for forgiveness when he, by dint of his job, had to accompany the king to the temple of Rimmon, a pagan idol. He was reassured by Elisha with a promise of peace with Yahweh.
All because of a little girl’s confidence in the God of Israel.
This next example might be well known to you as well. Charles Haddon Spurgeon was a disconsolate young man, fearing he’d never be saved. He struggled with his guilt and sin for years as a teen. One day as he walked to church a terrible snowstorm reared up. Knowing he would not make it to his regular church in this weather, he ducked into a nearby Methodist church. The regular preacher was not present, probably also delayed or diverted by the storm. Only a layman was there, Spurgeon later supposed his trade was a tailor or shoemaker. An uneducated man, he even mispronounced some of the words. But the man gamely stood at the pulpit and did his best.
His text was Isaiah 45:22—“Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is none else.”
Spurgeon later said that the man mainly kept just repeating the text, not knowing what else to say. But then the layman looked sharply at Spurgeon in the nearly empty pews. The man said directly to the discouraged youth-
“Young man, you look very miserable,” he said. “Well,” said Spurgeon, “I did look miserable, but I had not been accustomed to have remarks made from the pulpit about my personal appearance before. However, it was a good blow, struck right home.” The preacher went on, “and you always will be miserable – miserable in life and miserable in death – if you don’t obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved.” And then he shouted at the top of his voice as I think only a Primitive Methodist can, “Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothing to do but to look and live!” And I did look.” (Source)
And Spurgeon was saved. Right then. Charles looked, and his heart and mind were opened, and he was saved. In a primitive church by a layman with no education, simply repeating one verse and a truthful exhortation, but what truth! And look where the Lord took Charles Spurgeon!
John Owen was a young man studying at Oxford. He knew ABOUT God, after all, he’d studied with prominent Puritans of the time. He had a great intellectual conviction of regeneration, but struggled with whether he was actually saved himself. But he felt something lacked. He longed for something to fill his soul with certainty.
One day John and his cousin heard that Edmund Calamy was going to preach nearby. This was a famous preacher, really famous. The duo decided to attend. As they settled on the bench eagerly waiting some fantastic high preaching, they were saddened to hear that Calamy was not going to preach after all, he couldn’t make it. Owen’s cousin urged John to get up and they’d go down the street to hear another famous preacher. Owen said, no, I think I’ll stay right here. His cousin went off, and Owen viewed the pulpit as the substitute preacher ascended. He looked like a farmer, or someone from the country, certainly not the celebrated Presbyterian preacher they’d come to hear.
The man preached Matthew 8:26: ‘Why are ye so fearful, O ye of little faith?’ As Owen listened, he felt infused with peace and certainty! He felt truly born again, and adopted by God.
Owen never even learned the substitute preacher’s name! He tried hard later to discover it, but never knew.
Preachers, Teachers, lay people, you never know where your words will go, as low as they might be, mispronounced, faltering, or weak. The Lord takes the weak and insignificant and grows it magnificently. You don’t have to worry you’re not educated. You don’t have to worry you have all the answers. Just open your mouth and speak verses, exalt the Lord, talk of your blessings in Him. He grows the words into what He wants them to be. In the cases of the three above, Jesus grew the words into strong men for the Lord. But it began with simple people proclaiming Him in their humble way.
God is able to use whoever in the pursuit of giving himself glory!
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