April 7, 2009
“What do you think? If a man, has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray and gets lost, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountain and go in search of the one that is lost?”
Matthew 18: 12, Amplified Bible
“The Ministry For One”
“I would sooner pluck one single brand from the burning than explain all mysteries.”
C. H. Spurgeon
If I only touched one person’s life during my entire lifetime, would I feel that my work was complete?
“So neither (she) who plants nor (she) who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.”
I Corinthians 3:7
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
What if I came to you with an offer? Let’s say I told you I was Chairwoman of a “Search Committee” and we needed your unique talents to be head of the ministry we represented. How would you feel? Would you give the potential position consideration? And further, what questions would you ask and want answered before you made a decision?
Would you want to find out what the pay would be? It’s a normal and sensible question. And would you be interested in how many people the organization employed? How about the programs at the organization? Wouldn’t you want to get some idea as to what the organization did? Further, wouldn’t you want to know how many people were being reached by the ministry?
All of these questions are excellent ones!
But let me ask you something. If I informed you that the ministry you were being asked to lead would only touch the life of one person each year, how would you feel? Would this single piece of information cause you to reconsider your interest in accepting such a job?
In a day and age when success is often measured by how much and how many, it’s easy for all of us to grab a yardstick when we measure the accomplishments in our own lives.
I’ll never forget a few months after Transformation Garden was on the internet, someone asked me, “How many emails do you receive each day?” Well, I said, “At least one.” For there’s never been a day, since the very first one, that someone, somewhere didn’t come and ask for prayer or write and say “thanks” for today’s devotional. After I said, “At least one,” there was dead silence. Then the person responded, “You mean you go to all this work every day, of writing and reading, just for one person? That seems like a waste of time.” And for a split second I, too, began to wonder, “Is all this work worth it for just one?” Well, let me answer this question immediately – God thought one was worth everything He loved.
Unfortunately, even in our attempts at spreading the fragrant and refreshing love of Jesus, we often fall victim to the numbers game. A few days ago, I was reading an article about how many churches there are in the world with over 2,000 members and it was astounding! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not denigrating the work of mega-churches or mega-ministries. God has a place in His field for everyone.
However, we focus too often on the arenas and stadiums or the huge church complexes that are filled to overflowing and laud the success of those who head these endeavors, while we dismiss the ministry of a mom who, everyday is teaching her children at home to become responsible adults. And this phenomenon isn’t relegated just to religious activities. One of the big reasons our worldwide financial system is in such a mess is that more sales meant more money and for too many the greed became their driving force.
How sad that the notion that “bigger is better” has crept into those activities that were meant to lead others on a pathway from personal ambition to personal salvation.
If we carefully study Jesus’ ministry on earth, we find He didn’t come to earth for congregations or churches, instead He came for individuals or as Matthew so poignantly penned, “one that is lost.”
Jesus’ ministry was for the one Samaritan woman, who was thirsty and needed a drink of “living water.”
Jesus’ ministry was for the one woman who had been isolated by her twelve year bleeding problem.
Jesus’ ministry was for the one Pharisee, Nicodemus, who wanted to meet Jesus in secret and at night when he hoped no one would see him.
Jesus’ ministry was for the one disabled woman with a back so bent for eighteen years, she couldn’t see anything but dirt.
And Jesus’ ministry was for the one Canaanite mother who had a sick daughter no one could make well.
Yes, there were a few days, here and there, during Jesus’ ministry, when he preached to crowds or fed multitudes, but the main impact of Jesus’ life was made through a ministry to one. One life at a time. One touch at a time. One transformation at a time.
This past week, we had a day when almost 1,000 people came to Transformation Garden. That’s a lot for us. But I want to tell you, if it had only been one – it would have been just as important to me, for the ministry I want to follow is the one Jesus lead here on earth – a ministry for one person at a time. This is Jesus’ way. It is how He makes a difference in your life and mine. And it is the way we’ll make a difference in the lives of those we meet, too.
“There is no joy in all the world like the joy of bringing one soul to Christ.”
“Lord, let me not live to be useless.”
I abandon myself into your hands.
Do with me as you will.
Whatever you may do with me,
I thank you.
I am prepared for anything,
I accept everything,
provided your will is fulfilled in me
and in all creatures.
I ask for nothing more,
I place my soul in your hands,
I give it to you, my God,
with all the love of my heart,
because I love you.
And for me it is a necessity of love,
this gift of myself,
this placing of myself in your hands,
in boundless confidence,
because you are
Charles de Foucauld
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
Available May 2009
P.S. Thank you for coming to Transformation Garden. For the next eight days, we are taking a break from our studies about all the women in the Bible to focus on the greatest gift every given to humans, the gift of God’s Son, Jesus Christ. I hope you pass along this free gift to your friends and family. Why not invite someone you care about to join you in the garden this week –www.transformationgarden.com
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.