“…but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.”
Being a loner and anti-social bohemian, I was never placed in any leadership position, which suited me just fine, for I have absolutely no desire to rule over other people. If Christ hadn’t taken hold of me and changed me into a totally different person, I would have been more than happy remaining who I was. Yet the conversion took place and I assumed a new identity.
I would have remained who I had always been had I had my choice. Unless we put out effort to steer it in the right direction, our personality will always move toward the way of least resistance. I long to be free and spontaneous, not realizing my spontaneity may be defective and controlled by my sinful nature, and by obeying the call of my nature I may be siding with my enemy unaware.
Surely Christ took hold of me, but not to accomplish great things in my life, for greatness and I are incompatible in every way and success as defined by the world has not found me so far, and I doubt it ever will. Preaching to less than ten people Sunday after Sunday in our church’s English worship service does remind me of the reality of how far and wide is the chasm that still exists between me and success as a minister.
The fact is: my circle of impact is about ten people or so, and I will just have to do the best I can to be a good influence and testimony among the ten. I think the world will become a much better place if every person is more mindful of their circle of influence.
This often quoted poem by Emily Dickinson might have become somewhat of a cliché, but it does serve a purpose in my discussion:
If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain.
We would like to believe that the Lord has called us to do things on a grand scale and we will become known all over the world as great warriors of God. A desire such as this is fine and dandy, but it’s rather unrealistic, for most of us will fail to reach that goal. Christ is far more realistic than we and he knows our limitation and is wise enough to assign us to do something that is actually achievable. Indeed Christ took hold of us to be salt and light within our small circles, and our primary responsibility is to our friends and neighbors. The Lord calls most of us to remain in Jerusalem and be faithful in doing small things. Out of his sovereign will he will also call a few of us to the ends of the earth, but it’s a waste of time for us to neglect doing what’s at hand by looking beyond the horizon and dreaming about accomplishing great things.