One morning, I read these words from Oswald Chambers in my morning devotional time. “It is inbred in us that we have to do exceptional things for God; but we have not. We have to be exceptional in the ordinary things, to be holy in the mean streets, among mean people, and this is not learned in five minutes.”
I think about these words a lot these days, as they challenge me greatly.
It has been a battle here lately, wondering whether I am useful to God. I am in a season of change, my weeks extremely busy and not quite as I would choose them to be. There are many prayers rising up these nights, some of them quite desperate. “Lord, am I supposed to continue this ministry? Should I just stop this? Am I of any use here? I am not doing as well here as I think I should be.”
The struggle has been there for quite some time. But the answer came on a Sunday morning, on the floor of our Kids’ Ministry room. It all started with a kid who grabbed my hand and asked if we could draw together. There we sat on the floor, drawing houses and flowers and helicopters — which was quite the challenge for me, as I am so bad at drawing. But one by one, kids kept joining us. Soon there was the challenge of age difference between the kids, which usually means that someone comments on the drawing skills (or the lack thereof) of another kid. Which, then, usually results in my attempts to make everyone feel like they are doing their best. That day, I decidedly encouraged every kid and in turn, they kept encouraging and complimenting one another.
Right there, on that floor surrounded by kids, I felt God nudging me to see what was happening.
A small person had asked to get my attention and time, and I had had no objections to that. They had asked me to step outside of my comfort zone (seriously, I am so bad at drawing), and I had said yes. In the midst of a busy Sunday afternoon, I laid aside my plans and accepted a new one without murmuring. I noticed the people that came into the room — small and big, kids and adults alike. I talked with them and shared Jesus with them.
To me, this was all so very small. Unnoticeable, really. Because it was a small thing, I also categorized it as something that did not really matter. But that moment mattered — to me and, I would guess, to the kids. Also to God. Not because I brought someone to Jesus (although it is possible that maybe in the midst of all of it, someone felt the love and grace of God). It was not because I had done a great job, ministering to small and big needs alike.
Rather, in the midst of the ministry of small things — came my surrender.
I surrendered my need to earn love, to work towards a good standing before God. I surrendered my desire to do big things for God — and instead, He had me do great things for Him. Looking at it now, I see that my desperate pleas for God to use me were answered. But the answer looked so different than what I had imagined. And the answer was also so much better than what I had imagined.
You see, I wanted to change the world so I could earn God’s love. In the ministry of small things and surrendering, God showed me that His love has already changed the world — and my heart.