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Saturday, May 7, 2016

Missional and Realistic

“Make a difference!”

“You can change the world!”

“Reach for the stars!”

I think down deep each of us truly desires to make a difference in the world. We want our own personal purpose in life to spill over and better the lives of others. We hear motivational stories and watch our heroes, and we think, “I can do that.”

But, when we come back down to earth, we see the truth. We’re only little fishes in big ponds. We don’t have platforms like our heroes have. We aren’t nationally known. We don’t even do motivational speaking, and we’re certainly not on tour! “Poor me. I can’t make a difference.” Sulk.

Let me tell you my story. I was a shy girl from the backside of nowhere. I attended a public high school with excellent teachers. When I went to college, I decided to major in art, since that was my primary interest. I minored in English. So, I graduated with a degree in art and later found jobs in that area.

I also met my husband in college and found out he felt the Lord was leading him into missions. I had already surrendered my heart for missionary service, and together we started looking for God’s will for us.

Fast-forward a few years. Our family came to Spain not knowing a word of Spanish. It was so frustrating to be at the “baby stage,” trying to mimic sounds and not knowing how to read. We wanted to impact our world . . . and we couldn’t even talk!

Years later, we started a church with a handful of people. My heart desired to teach women, and there was zero opportunity. Later, there were more women in the church, and we did some ladies’ meetings and Sunday school with them. It was both rewarding and challenging. As in every church, we’ve had our ups and downs. There have been times with more women and times with less. We’ve had opportunities with children, and then there were no children.

All along, I wanted to impact women for the Lord. I wanted to share biblical principles.

How could I do that?

I’ve learned some valuable lessons along this journey. Let me share them with you. 
  1. Do what you can in the sphere you’re in. You don’t need a huge platform. You don’t need lots of people. Invest your life, prayers, and sharing in those lives you touch. If there’s one extremely important lesson, it’s this one: bloom where you’re planted, and be content!
  2. Ask God for appointments that matter for eternity. I have been amazed how God has led me to share a testimony with people I never would have met otherwise. I could see that He orchestrated our meeting, our talk, and helped me share the gospel in a natural way. The whole encounter could only have been that God arranged it.
  3. Remember you’re only one person. When we look for a big impact on the world, we’re probably not being realistic. Yes, serve God with all your being, but realize that God uses all the church to do His work. God’s ministry in the world, your state, or your city doesn’t depend solely on you. Don’t think you can do more than you can. Be realistic.
  4. Invent ways to impact others for Christ. I don’t know what your particular natural and spiritual gifts are, but you do. Pray and ask God to give you ideas for how to use them for Him. Two young people gave a sacred concert and invited friends. A woman baked bread and gave it to neighbors that she wanted to befriend. I found that writing my blog—thank you for reading!—reaches people I’ll never meet. There are so many ways you can reach out to the world around you. Use your talents for God!
  5. Remember your priorities. The Bible teaches that a married woman’s priorities are: a personal relationship with the Lord, caring for her husband, children, and ministry. Andy Stanley said, “Your greatest contribution to the kingdom of God may not be something you do but someone you raise.” We can lose the right emphasis when we’re dreaming of grandiose ministry scenarios, and we’re forgetting that those children entrusted to us are even more important. Our husband needs us. We must keep close to God in Bible reading and prayer. We need to be growing Christians. (Without that, we have nothing to share, anyway.)
  6. Accept the different stages of life. When it seems like you have very little opportunity to do what you want to do, maybe it’s not God’s timing. He’s probably using you in a different way. Accept your stages of life as normal and right. Later, God may open up the door wide for you—or He might not. The Bible says that godliness with contentment is great gain (1 Timothy 6:6).
  7. Acknowledge that everyone around you is watching your life. Do you want to impact your little corner of the world? Live a Christ-like life. You’d be surprised who’s watching! Jesus said, If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour (John 12:26).

Let’s make a difference by being godly. Let’s make a difference by following God’s leadership one step at a time. And let’s be content if our ministry seems small in the great scheme of things.

Keep yourselves in the love of God,
looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
(Jude 21)


  1. Yes! Years ago when we attended MCBC, Dr./Pastor Mark Minnick preached a series on Jesus' 12 disciples called "Men the Master Made." The first message was on the three disciples that we know nothing about except their names and that they were there in any scenes with the rest of the 12. The lesson he brought out about them was "faithfulness in obscurity." Most of us will not be the "big lights," but we can be faithful wherever God has us doing what He wants us to.

    1. Yes, so true! I think in God's great scheme of things, most of the work done for Him is servant work, therefore it's "faithfulness in obscurity." Thank you, Barbara, for sharing!

  2. Thank you so much Lou Ann for blooming where you are planted and reaching others all over the world, like me in Florida! Your devotionals are always such a blessing to me. Keep on keeping on!

    1. Thank you for reading, Brenda, and for your kind words of encouragement. God bless you!


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