When are you significant?
- When you accomplish something “big” for God, or
- When you rest in grace, serve faithfully, and leave the results to the King.
From time to time I am tempted to choose option 1. I go through phases when I want to have a “big” role is seeing a Christ awakening erupt in the church, spill into the culture, and eventually change the world.
I am intrigued with the theory behind Malcolm Gladwell’s bestseller The Tipping Point. A synopsis of the book states: “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate” (Synopsis via Amazon.com).
Even though the book is “secular,” Gladwell uses the rapid spread of the Second Great Awakening as one of his case studies. That makes it easier for me to try and apply the theory to my hunger for a broad awakening to the reign of King Jesus in our day.
Can you relate? Do you have moments when you yearn to do something “big” in the kingdom of God? My primary passion is for a broad awakening to God’s Son. What is yours? What is the piece of the kingdom that stays on your mind a lot . . . the arena where you would love to launch rapid transformation?
Wanting to move something to the tipping point can spring from two motives:
- As noted above, I can believe I only have significance if I am able to orchestrate something “big” for the kingdom of God. Or,
- I can be motivated by an authentic desire to see glory flow to Triune God and for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
David Bryant (proclaimhope.com) is my mentor on the issue of a broad awakening to the glory of King Jesus. He longs for the tipping point, but only because of the second factor above.
In an email he said: “Where I personally have to ‘wage the good fight of faith’ is that inside my spirit the Father has given me ‘eyes’ to see what is coming and to ‘see’ the essence of it in ways that is no different than the snow I’m looking at outside my window this moment—as if it had already happened. I didn’t ask for this. But it is in me, though not OF me. And in my heart there continually rings the voice of the Spirit: ‘Look upon the awakening that MUST come and labor toward it with all your strength.’”
If you and I love and adore King Jesus, if we yearn to see Him receive the glory and attention He is due, if we clearly see the fallenness of the world, if we can visualize what it might look like for His kingdom to come rapidly in some arena of life . . . then it seems entirely appropriate to hunger and thirst for something “big” to happen.
But here is where we have to be careful. With pure motives I can desire to see big changes in the kingdom. The problem comes when I become certain that my skills and my strategic thinking and my great sacrifices will push things to the tipping point and will usher in the big change.
The following steps seem a bit more sound:
- I hunger and thirst to see something happen that would bring glory to God and would bring in the kingdom more rapidly.
- I ask the King to reveal to me what I am to do about that.
- I humbly tell the King how honored I would be if He took my hard work and multiplied it into something “big.”
- I also tell the King how honored I would be if He used my ideas and work and made them a small (and perhaps unnoticed) part of His grand scheme.
If my work launches an epidemic of kingdom activity and thousands of lives are impacted, blessed be the Name. If my unnoticed work moves the kingdom forward in more typical ways, blessed be the Name. If my name becomes a household expression, blessed be the Name. If I serve faithfully in a position few know about, blessed be the Name.
I want to believe that, if Christ has been glorified and His kingdom has come more on the earth, then any great effort is worth being all in and worth any sacrifices made, even if full awakening is not the result. I want to come away savoring what Christ did do and did accomplish rather than steeping in a sense of failure.
But none of that reduces in the least moving toward the event/project/ministry with a sense of wonder and even anticipation that Christ might do something far beyond that which could be explained, humanly speaking.
I know the Spirit has used “big moments” in history to propel revival. He also has used small moments—that no person orchestrated or prepared for by any means other than prayer. And, He tends to do the unexpected. Through people one wouldn’t expect. In places no one would guess. That all helps me be a bit more realistic as I am wondering whether the next “big” thing will be the tipping point.
With ever major step forward that I take or thing I lead, I always will ask (like a child on Christmas morning), “Father, is this the moment you will multiply attention on your beloved Son?” I will pray with faith and vision.
But at the same time, I will lift up that sacrificial service to Him as a love gift that matters—even if that effort proves to be just another part of His kingdom coming on the earth.
Not only does that feel doctrinally correct, but it also seems to be a way that I can spend a lifetime savoring every adventure I go on with my King.