Zechariah 4:10 (NLT) – “Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin.”
Years ago, I heard the following illustration two or three times within a short period. Forgive me for not remembering my sources. This tale impacted me greatly. Perhaps I’ve added my befuddled twist to the tale. Consider this a Fractured Sermon Illustration by Katherine.
If I remember the tale correctly, this was an actual event. Professors advised a brilliant young Bible scholar to find a spiritual mentor. He hoped to intern under a gifted minister known far and wide for his excellence in the pulpit and Biblical knowledge. He was thrilled when the pastor agreed to meet with him, and he anxiously awaited his appointment with the great man.
“No task set before me is too insignificant.”
When that day finally approached, the young man arrived early and stood gazing at a huge, stately church. Somewhere in that massive complex, he was to have his interview. Which of the many alcoves and entrances led to the church office? Noticing an older man was raking up small branches and stray leaves off the edge of the church’s lawn, he approached the gardener to ask for directions. As he stepped closer, he was taken aback. This was no mere gardener; this was the renowned Bible scholar!
After a brief introduction, the old pastor drawled, “So son, what brings you here?” The young man replied. “I’m here to be your pupil if you’ll take me, sir.” Looking the young man over, the scholar handed him a nearby rake. “When we’re done, we’ll talk about the internship.” The younger man protested. “But sir, isn’t there someone else who should be doing this? This job is beneath me.” He stuttered, “I… I… I mean you!” The older man chuckled, “No task set before me is too insignificant.”
Never judge your sphere of influence as being too small. Everyday encounters are opportunities for you to minister the heart of Christ to another. A friendly exchange with the cashier at your favourite grocery store or a thumb’s up to the guy behind the counter at your gas station can make their day. Acknowledge the barista at the coffee shop who always gets your order just right. That shy girl with a backpack who is waiting at the bus stop when you get there each morning also notices you every day. Strike up a conversation. Everyday small talk at a bus stop every day can lead to ministry opportunities if you are observant. A gentle question or a rightly placed word of encouragement can save a life down the road.
Leave a lasting impact; one leaf, one small branch, one smile, one word at a time.
Keep your heart open. Be observant; allow the Lord to lead you to ‘the one’ He has sent for you to cross paths with today. Even if you plan to stay home, reach out through email, text, or, better yet, a phone call.
Mother Teresa encouraged those who desired to follow in her footsteps. “Never worry about numbers. Help one person at a time and always start with the person nearest you.” Heidi Baker, who has ministered to thousands upon thousands in Africa and beyond, simplified it even further. “Stop for the one.” If you are hoping for a large platform someday, start learning how to balance well on the small platform set before you.
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From November 2020 forward, all Bible verses attributed to the NASB version unless otherwise indicated.
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Until Next Week,
©2021 Katherine Walden