For many of us we are prevented from sharing our faith because we just can’t accept any inherent value or intrinsic good in either ourselves or our actions. Low self-esteem is currently posing a massive problem in our society and therefore in the contemporary Church.
Whenever someone struggles with thinking that they have nothing to offer my mind always turns immediately to the feeding of the 5,000 in John 6. When you include women and children as well you discover that there were somewhere between 11 and 15,000 hungry people in a field at lunchtime. Jesus asks where they should buy bread (verse 5) and no one knows what to do until Andrew finds a boy’s packed lunch. He bravely takes it up to Jesus and says:
Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many? (verse 9).
Andrew can’t understand how this small offering will help, but despite his lack of spiritual awareness he still knows enough to bring it to Jesus. He acknowledges that the packed lunch before him is not even adequate to feed one hungry man, but he is working with a Jesus who works wonders and so he takes it to the King. As a result, Jesus feeds the whole field with plenty to spare. Andrew is probably as surprised as the rest, but he is beginning to realise that this Jesus can take what seem like small efforts to us, and use them in incredible ways.
He can take the little that we have to offer and do things with inadequate resources that we would never dream to be possible. The plain and simple reality is that with Jesus on our side anything can happen.
For this reason, when we think we have nothing to offer, we must still bring it to Jesus. This has the potential to be very exciting. It’s fundamental that as a Church we start witnessing and living out our faith in every environment that we find ourselves in. We must bring our little and watch Jesus use it amazingly. Just as he took a boy’s packed lunch and fed thousands of people, he can take our small efforts and use them in incredible ways.
It is of paramount importance that we avoid beating ourselves up by unfair comparisons. There seem to be some people who just tell amazing stories of leading people to Jesus on trains, in parks and all over the place. Such tales make the rest of us feel like we can never live up to these standards. Let me be clear on something – we can’t!
We are living testimonies of God’s grace, not people collecting Hollywood stories.
I met a girl recently who was feeling really discouraged. She desperately wanted her four college friends to come to faith and none of them were. However, as I probed with questions it became clear that these four had all been really hostile to Christ a year or so earlier and now as a result of this girl they were all no longer hostile though equally not yet all that interested. I turned to the girl and said:
You should be delighted as your friends are on a journey and you are positively influencing them for Christ even if the progress may seem slow.
We need to celebrate the impact we are making in the everyday not just the kairos moments (the appointment moments in God’s plans). All of us today can bring our little to Jesus and He will use it to help bring others further towards Him.