By Luke Holmes
In the countryside of Idaho sits the J.R. Simplot Company farm. It’s a corporate feedlot that employs more than 100 people who care for more than 150,000 cattle.
Everything about this farm from the size of the pens to the volume of the feed trucks is massive.
There’s a “hospital” pen for sick cows and three full-time vets who work there. Like any big organization, they do things on a large scale, and it’s an impressive sight.
The average family farm may seem small and even insignificant compared to this large-scale organization. But no matter how big or small a farming organization is, the work they do matters and makes a difference.
This is also true for pastors and churches. Churches come in all shapes and sizes. Some seem to be like “corporate farms” with their own vets, nutritionists, and a full staff. Meanwhile, other churches have pastors who do it all—serving the feed, cleaning the lots, and tending to the sick in the flock.
It’s easy to think that the bigger the ministry, the more important it is, but the truth is there’s no such thing as a small work done for God.
Be Willing to do the “Small Things”
I don’t think I know of any pastors who don’t want to be used by God. I don’t know any churches that would say, “God can use someone else.” Almost every Christian desires to be used by God to do great things in the world.
We all say we’d do anything to be used for God’s purposes. Our actions, however, often seem to send the message, “use someone else.”
In order to be used by God to do great things, you first have to be willing to do small things for Him.
The greatest changes that happen in our Christian life aren’t made at camps, conferences, or revivals but in early morning devotions, late-night prayers, and consistent obedience.
Through these moments we bring our actions in line with the will of God and are made to be more like Christ.
Everyone knows a person who has stood and given a “testimony” of salvation at church but has then gone right back to living the way they did before. Many of us have been that person ourselves.
It’s easy to make big declarations for Christ, but it’s much harder to make the daily choices and decisions that help us follow Jesus.
One Life Counts
It’s exciting to think God might use us to bring revival or awakening to our communities. But what if God has placed you where you are so that just one life can be changed? Would you still think it’s worth the work and effort?
All of us would say, “One life is worth it.” But we also want God to do more.
I don’t know what God has in store for your life, but it’s possible He doesn’t want you to do big and grand things—at least, not big by the world’s standard and by the standards of many in ministry.
There are some people called to cross oceans to share the gospel, but all of us are called to simply cross the street and share the gospel with those who need it.
All of us are willing to do great things to be used by God. But are we willing to do small things for God too?
The same question stands for churches. There are churches that loom large across the Christian landscape today, with outspoken leaders who exert influence over polity, financial decisions, and more.
These churches sit at the crossroads of major interstates or downtown in urban centers, and their size is impressive to everyone who sees them.
But there are many more one- or two-room churches that sit on dusty country roads and are never known outside of their community.
No one calls these pastors to get their opinions on things, but they probably don’t have time anyways. These pastors and churches are busy with food banks, Vacation Bible School, widow care, mission trips, and more.
The Bible promises that those who are faithful with the little things will be faithful with the big things, too. But far too often, we aren’t content to do the small things. We still long to do “something big” for God.
A Ministry That Matters
When we take time to do the little things right for God, we’ll find out there are no little things if God is in them.
When the God of the universe inhabits our every action and decision, then every small action is full of endless possibility and potential.
Suddenly we realize that every act of obedience can have eternal consequences. When we see the power of our small acts for God it enables us to have enthusiasm and passion to obey God even when we don’t get to do the big things.
It’s easy to get tired and burned out in the Christian life—certainly in ministry. The small things every pastor and church leader has to do feel like they don’t matter or aren’t important.
When you’re in the trenches it can feel like you’re just stuck doing the same thing over and over. Learning the power of simple obedience is one of the best things we can do to keep our calling fresh and exciting.
You might be called to feed a thousand sheep or just a few. Whatever the number, God has given us a ministry that matters.
We might never be called to stand on big stages, to usher in revivals that make the history books, or write songs that are sung for generations.
But everyone is called by God to grow closer to Him through prayer, Bible reading, and worship.
Every Christian—whether or not in professional ministry—is called by God to share the gospel with their neighbor, to show God’s kindness, and to point others to Him.
LUKE HOLMES (@lukeholmes) is husband to Sara, father to three young girls, and pastor at First Baptist Church Tishomingo, Oklahoma since 2011. He’s a graduate of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and can be found online at LukeAHolmes.com.