by Calven Celliers
An acquaintance of mine in Los Angeles includes me on his mailing list with a “Weekly Word”. Last week’s devotion included the following story about a gentleman by the name of Edward Kimball. Edward Kimball was a Sunday School teacher who was concerned about one of his young students who worked at a shoe store in town. One day Kimball visited him at the store, found the student working in the back stocking shelves, and led him to Christ then and there. Dwight L. Moody eventually left the shoe store to become one of the greatest preachers and evangelists of all time. D.L. Moody went to England and worked a profound change in the ministry of F.B. Meyer.
F.B. Meyer, with his new evangelistic fervour, influenced J. Wilbur Chapman. Chapman helped in the ministry of converted baseball player Billy Sunday, who had a huge impact upon Mordecai Ham. And Mordecai Ham, during an evangelistic campaign in North Carolina, led Billy Graham to Christ. And we all know the incredible way God used Billy Graham to reach millions of people worldwide with the gospel. Billy Graham apparently communicated the gospel to more people than any other person in history. And to think it all started with a humble Sunday School teacher named Kimball.
As I read that story, I was reminded of a game I used to play with dominos as a child. I’d spend long periods of time painstakingly balancing dominos on their short end at just the right proximity to one another in long rows and different formations. Once I was done, I would knock the first domino over and watch with glee as the cumulative effect would cause the entire row to tumble one after the other in quick succession.
This got me thinking about the knock-on effect of our witness in the world. Cumulative impact is an encouraging way to think about the process of expanding God’s Kingdom on earth. It might not feel like your witness is doing much, but I want to assure you, your contribution is significant. Have you ever experienced the frustration of putting together a puzzle, only to discover in the end that a piece was missing? Even though that piece is just a tiny portion of the puzzle, its absence leaves a very noticeable flaw in the whole picture. As believers, each and every one of us has an important part to play in God’s amazing plan, and before you even say that your part isn’t important because it isn’t a visible one like preaching, consider the many behind-the-scenes people – people you’ve probably never heard of – that God has used to change the course of history. History may not record the names of all the behind-the-scenes individuals, but history would not have been the same without them! No part in the Kingdom of God is insignificant!
In this well-known verse from 1 Corinthians 3, the apostle Paul illustrates that each and every one of us as believers have a significant role to play, as we do our bit in obedience to God’s prompting and leading –
“6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. 7 So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. 8 The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labour. 9 For we are co-workers in God’s service…”
(1 Corinthians 3: 6 – 9NIV)
I think we all wrestle with thinking ‘my contribution’ doesn’t matter’ from time to time. But I just want to say to you ‘that is an absolute lie, your life and your work matter greatly.’ Somebody needed to bring the food to Jesus for Him to multiply it. We might not all be Billy Grahams, but the Edward Kimballs of this world play just as an important role. Jesus is gracious enough to invite you into His story, to bring your gifts, and to bring your talents, and to bring who you are to Him, and to give them to Him and to see what He might do with them. Faithfully take up your place in God’s plan and do the best you can, with who you are, right where you are. Let the cumulative effect play out and who knows who might influence, impact or touch down the line.
“Every one of us can be a simple witness for Christ. And how wonderful it will be to meet the ones who are in heaven because of your and my witness for Jesus. Only Heaven will reveal who these ones are.” (Nico Bougas)