We all yearn — some secretly, others not — to play a big part in God’s redemptive plan. We envy those who enjoy the privilege of serving God in what we see as a big role — receiving the acclaim of large audiences and important people, living well with the material blessings that come with popularity. That is human nature.
The truth, however, is more difficult to grasp — difficult because it runs against the strong current of human nature. The truth is that there are no small roles in God’s great drama of redemption. God creates each of us according to his vision of what he wants us to be and accomplish. He listed the specifications of our design and drew up his plans for our lives before he started crafting us. He gives us the gifts we need to do the work he has chosen for us. Whether his plan is for us to influence “great” multitudes or “mere” handfuls, our greatest achievement is to fulfill his plan. One life changed in keeping with his plan is just as valuable a contribution as multitudes of lives transformed, and one life truly changed is far better than a multitude merely entertained. It is hard for us to grasp because our ways are not his ways, our thoughts are not his thoughts, but It is not the quantity of accomplishment that matters but the quality — and the Lord measures quality by only one standard: whether it is what he intended for us to accomplish.
Do you labor in obscurity? Do you minister to the miniscule? Do you wish you enjoyed the comforts of life others enjoy? Shame on you! Not shame because of where you serve but shame for coveting what others have, for lusting after something the Lord has chosen not to give you. What sort of child is ungrateful for the present he has received? What does it say about the condition of my heart that I value the present given to someone else more highly than the one the chosen especially for me by the God of Creation?
My mind is conformed to this world’s way of thinking, to the values of my godless culture. I need to be transformed by a renewing of my mind. The irony of God’s way may be that the obstacle to my having acclaim and comfort is my desire for them. When I no longer yearn for wealth and the acclaim of man, when my greatest desire is for God’s glory among the people he has given me to serve — however few and lowly they may be — only then is my heart in the proper spiritual condition for God to use me in a “greater” arena. Only when I understand that the “bigger” ministry is not the better ministry am I useful to God even in the “smaller” ministry in which he has placed me.
Truth be told, the men and women who enjoy the privilege of serving God in “big” roles learned this lesson and invested themselves wholeheartedly in the “small” ministry — contenting themselves with those circumstances — long before they ever had the opportunity to influence the large audience. What if the Lord told you that the only way you will ever have a ministry like that is for you to come to the point that you no longer want it? That may be what he is waiting on.
And if it isn’t — if he chooses for you to continue working in “obscurity” and “poverty” with the “small” audience — why would you not be delighted with that, if indeed you have chosen to be content in the circumstances in which he has placed you? If you would not be delighted to learn that the Lord intends for you to always minister where he has you serving now, perhaps you need to go back to the beginning and read these words again.