As a church planter, it’s hard to be that impressed with one’s ministry. Church plants are, by definition, humble things, and everything is still embryonic. I love the people in our church, the culture that’s developing, and the mission, but we’re certainly not big or flashy.
I’m not alone. As I speak in other churches, I find few that are impressive. Again, the people are great, and the ministry significant, but it always seems that things are humble, and that the real action is taking place elsewhere. It’s tempting to wish that we were there, rather than in the small, humble places where we serve.
As I prepared a sermon last week on the parable of the Ten Minas (Luke 19:11-27), I was struck by the idea that the servants in the parable were entrusted with only a small amount, the equivalent of a hundred days’ wages. It seemed like a humble amount, but faithfulness was still required.
Speaking on this parable, Charles Spurgeon noted:
He gave to each of them a pound. “Not much,” you will say. No, he did not intend it to be much. They were not capable of managing very much. If he found them faithful in “a very little” he could then raise them to a higher responsibility. I do not read that any one of them complained of the smallness of his capital, or wished to have it doubled.
Brothers, we need not ask for more talents, we have quite as many as we shall be able to answer for. Preachers need not seek for larger spheres: let them be faithful in those which they now occupy. A brother said to me, “I cannot do much with a hundred hearers,” and I replied, “You will find it hard work to give in a good account for even a hundred people.” I confess it very quietly, but I have often wished that I had a little congregation, that I might watch over every soul in it; but now I am doomed to an everlasting dissatisfaction with my work, for what am I among so many? I can only feel that I have not even begun to do the hundredth part of what needs to be done in such a church as this.
…You say, “It is not much.” The Master did not say it was much, on the contrary, he called it “very little”; but have you used that very little?
My ministry and my talents aren’t impressive, but I’m called to be faithful with what he’s given me. Although it’s tempting to pay attention to what others with more talents and bigger ministries are doing, God has called us to pay attention to what we’re doing, and to be faithful with what he’s given us. What we have may not be much, but it’s enough for us to be faithful. Then perhaps we’ll hear Jesus say, “Well done, good servant!” (Luke 19:17). Faithfulness, even in small places, counts for eternity.