Grace For The Journey
I remember the first time I heart this quote from Francis Schaeffer, “As there are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places.”
I was sitting in chapel service at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. As a first-semester seminary student, my mind and heart were full of excitement and expectation, especially concerning where the Lord may take me in the ministry. Having observed watched and heard many “celebrity” pastors, I remember thinking and hoping that maybe God would direct my ministry to such a height someday. Yet, as the speaker preached and referenced this quote, I remember my heart being shaken, and my direction in ministry changed.
My assumption up to that point – and if we are honest, the assumption of so many of us – was that God was always going to call me to bigger and better places.
The small ministry that I had before seminary was in my past.
Greatness, notoriety, and prosperity were surely on the horizon.
Yet, the truth is, this is the way of the flesh and not the way of Christ!
Jesus prescribes the position of the heart that must prevail in the life of His disciples in Luke 14:7-11:
There the Bible says, “And He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: ‘When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited to go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself with be exalted.'”
Jesus’ teaching to those who heard this parable was simple:
Take the lowest position
And trust the Host
To put you
In the right position.
What Jesus teaches in this parable is echoed throughout the New Testament . . .
- In Matthew, Luke, and John, we have the example of Jesus washing the disciples’ feet.
- In Philippians 2, the Apostle Paul reminds his readers to have the same mind in them as Christ Jesus, who took on flesh, took up the cross, and humbled Himself to the point of death.
- In 1 Peter 5:6, Peter encourages his readers to, “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time.”
Dr. Schaeffer comments on the point of this passage in his book, No Little People: “This is the way of the Christian: he should choose the lesser place until God extrudes him into a position of more responsibility.”
Living out the teaching of Jesus
And the message of the New Testament
Requires us to always seek
Faithfulness over a following.
When we embrace New Testament humility, we are not promised a massive following. When we embrace New Testament humility, there is no promise that money will flow in. When we embrace New Testament humility, there is no assurance that any man will ever see us as a success. BUT there is the promise that we will be exalted by the Lord.
Choosing to be faithful on the lesser path
May never lead to the praises of man,
But it will lead to the approval of our Savior.
Additionally, living out this teaching of Jesus requires us to always seek out piety over a platform.
As disciples of Jesus,
Our aim should be
To grow in our devotion to Jesus
Not to grow our ministry reach.
For many of us (myself included), false humility pervades our social media channels. We use false gratitude and fancy phrases that are posted, pictured, and planted all over our social media feeds in hopes that our reach will grow farther and our notoriety will increase. These false actions often take our attention away from faithfully following Jesus.
We are tempted to grow our own following
Instead of more faithfully following Him.
Since the way of Christ is so clear, we should do two things. First, we should follow Christ’s call, no matter the span of our influence. Second, we should work as servants and not seek celebrity status. Dr. Schaeffer says,
“Jesus commands Christians to seek consciously the lowest room. All of us—pastors, teachers, professional religious workers and nonprofessional included—are tempted to say, “I will take the larger place because it will give me more influence for Jesus Christ.” Both individual Christians and Christian organizations fall prey to the temptation of rationalizing this way as we build bigger and bigger empires. But according to the Scripture this is back-wards: we should consciously take the lowest place unless the Lord Himself extrudes us into a greater one.”
For each of us,
The command of Christ is
To be humble and to trust
Him alone for where we are headed.
May we always seek the lower place so that we can give Christ the highest praise with our lives!
. This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey
Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!
Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”
Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”