For the past few months, our lives have been filled with excitement and activity as we prepared to leave for India. Our friends and family surrounded us. We prayed and dreamed of the things we want to do in Nagpur. We want to help orphans and adopt them; we want to tell people about Jesus; we want to train and encourage evangelists; we want God to use us to change the world. These are lofty goals.
But on the ground here, we knew we would come face to face with the reality that some of these goals will be long-term; they will require perseverance, patience, and suffering. Accomplishing them will be nothing short of a miracle. It will be God’s doing, in His timing. By ourselves, we are very incapable here. We started experiencing this reality almost immediately upon arrival!
Even in daily life, it has been painfully humbling for me to be so dependent on God and others for (literally) everything. At this point, we cannot eat a real meal, get around town, shop, hold a conversation with most people, or even go to church without someone else’s help. This level of incapacity is so frustrating to me. I know God is using it to teach me to lay down my pride and depend on Him in each moment! I read Proverbs 3:5-6 Sunday and it really encouraged me in this area. I cannot even try to lean on my own understanding here, so I am learning to put my trust in the Lord and submit to Him.
I know that we will continue to pursue our long-term goals here as God leads us, and we are in this ministry for the long haul. I also think God is calling me to have faith that the small, daily things we do are meaningful too. Sometimes, I have a very limited view of what meaningful work looks like: Bible studies, counseling sessions, children’s services… Hopefully we will eventually have the opportunity to participate in these kinds of ministry here, but for now, what should we do? I am missing the activities I got to be part of in the US, and I’m dying to do something big and “meaningful” here.
This weekend I read what Jesus told his disciples about the kingdom of God. He uses three similar parables (the parable of the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost/prodigal son) to demonstrate a principle in Luke 15:10, “In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” In all of the parables, Jesus is talking about one individual. One sheep… one coin… one sinner who repents. Although this is not the only point of the lesson, I noticed that Jesus puts value on the individual… on the small things. One sheep out of 99 doesn’t seem like a “big” deal, but it is very meaningful in the Kingdom. Even if we see one person’s life changed, it will be meaningful and important. Angels will rejoice.
I started thinking more about the little things in life. What resources do I have? Our friend and mentor wrote a book about biblical principles that I just finished copy-editing. One of the principles is use what you have; don’t worry about what you don’t have (2 Corinthians 8:12). I remembered this for my life and decided that I would try to use the gifts that I do have in order to impact people’s lives. I will strive to be faithful in the little things. If that means all I can do is smile and greet the boy who takes out our trash, I will do it. If it means I can say a word of encouragement to a friend, I will do it. If I can be uplifting to my husband, I will do it. I can be righteous and practice the fruits of the Spirit, and I will do it. I will look for any way I can show love to others. These things are really not what I would consider “ministry” – but they are the only things I have right now.
For now, I have faith that God is in control and will accomplish His will. I have faith that the little things are also important.
Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”