Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Stars and Pebbles

"I will... make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore," God promised Abraham centuries ago (Gen. 22:17, NIV). The implications of that promise may go even deeper than foretelling Abraham's spiritual descendants. Stars are among the largest objects in the physical universe; grains of sand are among the smallest objects in the visible world. Our God is not only powerful enough to exercise His will over the universe, but thorough enough to pay attention to the tiniest detail.

Often we wonder why God calls relatively few Christians to be eloquent preachers, famous authors, and wealthy philanthropists. Surely we could win the world faster, if only there were more of us capable of real impact? But while thousands may be "converted" through a TV broadcast, the most sincere and committed Christians are usually won and discipled by the up-close-and-personal faith of relatives and acquaintances. As St. Paul wrote, "Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.... so that no one may boast before him.... those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor" (1 Cor. 1:26-27, 29; 12:22-23).

When tempted to be jealous of fellow Christians' "dynamic" gifts, we should remember two things:

1. What matters is not for us to do great deeds, but for God to do great deeds through us.
2. Only God has the wisdom--and the right--to define which deeds are ultimately great.

If we truly want to do God's will, we should be pleased to do it His way.

The stars of heaven, small to our eyes,
Are blazing giants of enormous size.
The stones of earth, small at our feet,
Together could pave every city street.

The gifts of God, which some disdain,
Fall thicker than heaven's drops of rain;
Like stars and stones, which none can count,
His blessings flow in untold amount.

All that we have comes from above;
The tiniest talent's bestowed in love.
Do not despise your gift as small:
God's wisdom and power supply us all.

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