Thursday, September 29, 2011

I Am Only One

Before we get into today’s thought, a request.  A lot of you have been praying for those on our prayer list page.  You’ve noticed that Olivia is at the top of the list.  For those who didn’t read the original post when I added her, she’s now only a month and a half old.  When she was born there was a tumorous growth pushing on her liver.  Olivia has since been through batteries of tests and procedures to figure out what was happening.  They finally determined that it was a form of cancer. 

At first, it was thought she wouldn’t need chemotherapy, now they’ve decided that’s the best option.  Normally, there’s a nonsurgical way of inserting the tube for the chemo.  That wasn’t possible in this case.  Which led to Olivia not being allowed to eat for over 13 hours while waiting for an operating room to open up, then the surgery.  She’ll be monitored for the next 24 hours or so.  Sometime after things settle, the chemo starts.  Olivia has gone through all kinds of things she can’t possibly understand and I’m sure she doesn’t like.  Her parents, Andy and Julie, are great friends and beautiful believers, but have been put through an emotional rollercoaster that isn’t finished yet.  Please keep all three in your prayers.

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A friend of mine, Pastor John Bilowith, shared the following quote on Facebook: “I am only one, but I am one! I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” Edward Hale.  And that got me thinking.

We’re so used to corporations like Apple and Microsoft, the federal government and all kinds of other large organizations inserting themselves in our lives and accomplishing “huge things”.  And we take that as the norm, thinking that there’s little of value that we can do as individuals.  And that’s a lie we’re buying.  Let me explain.

We all know the passage in John 21 where Jesus asks Peter “Do you love me?”  and Peter responds that he has phileo love for Christ, not agape.  Nonetheless, Jesus tells him, “Feed My sheep.”  We always talk about the love aspects of that passage.  But there’s more.  Jesus didn’t gather the Apostles or the other disciples together for this one.  It was one person talking to another. 

Peter had already lopped off a soldier’s ear, denied Jesus three times out of fear, run off to go back to fishing instead of following God.  And all it took was one person talking to one person to change Peter’s life forever.  And, as a result, the whole world was changed.  Yes, I know that Jesus is God, but I believe He was showing us a principle, here.  It was His one on one interaction with Peter that changed him. 

Jesus wasn’t telling Peter to go build some huge organization, then spiritually feed the sheep.  The numbers would come from the feeding.  Any organization that has that reversed has it wrong.  The most real impact is personal.  The founding pastor of the ministry I’m in, Dr Carl Stevens, often said that a sermon is first for the person preaching it, then for those being preached to.  As I think about that, it’s still personal.  The preacher receives what God has for him in his message study and meditation.  Then the preacher may be speaking to a group of people, but the congregation is receiving the message individually.  I can’t receive what God has for someone else in that sermon, only what He has for me.  And that’s what changes me.

There are a number of people I follow on Twitter for the quotes they share.  One of them had a quote from Mother Teresa that stuck with me.  I don’t recall the exact wording, but the principle was that if you couldn’t feed a bunch of people, don’t fret, feed just one.  If we counsel, it’s one person talking to one person or couple.  If we disciple, it’s most effective when it’s one on one.  And when we think of evangelism, it’s one person talking to one person.  Luke 15:10 doesn’t say the angels wait to rejoice about salvations till there’s a whole group of them.  The joy starts as soon as one sinner repents.

Don’t worry about the big stuff.  God’ll take care of that.  Just stay open to doing the small stuff that really changes the world.

So, what earth shattering small task is next on your agenda?

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