Read: Genesis 3:15; Exodus 2:11-15; John 6:1-11
It's time to play name that song. Here are five clues, can you name the song that fits them all?
1. This tune and lyrics were written by George Corey and Douglass Cross.
No looking it up, okay?
2. This song languished, having been tossed aside and unwanted for several years before being considered.
3. This song was sung on the first Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson which debuted in October of 1962.
4. This song was turned down by Tennessee Ernie Ford.
5. Even with all of these apparent detriments, this song's famous singer never tired of crooning it. Even after decades of doing so.
If you said Tony' Bennett's signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco", give yourself a gold star! Yes, these facts and others are part of the history of this song that was set aside and even berated by many. What a reminder that even an insignificant beginning might not mean that something or someone will have little effect on things or people when all is said and done. Tony Bennett, who died this week at the age of 96, would agree.
With these thoughts in mind, let's take a whirlwind trip into the scriptures and notice that God also wants to remind us that what seems to be small and not laudable is often the beginning of something wonderful because His mighty power is at work. After all, He is the One Who took nothing and created everything by speaking it into existence, Genesis 1. What an awesome Creator/Redeemer we have!
1. God planted a seed of hope that would come to fruition in His time, Genesis 3:15; Galatians 4:4. This first promise found in Genesis 3:15 was merely the first of many promises that God would sprinkle throughout the Old Testament. It is here that Almighty God gave the first glimmer of truth that the evil that had been unleashed into His world through Adam and Eve's sin, Genesis 3, would someday be crushed. The details were few. So many additional pieces of God's plan would be given as time went on, but this small beginning was a gift to Adam and Eve. The pain that sin would bring upon them and all those who would be born wouldn't have the last word. God held out that first glimpse of His promise to them and to us. There undoubtedly was much they didn't understand; however, one day, the flicker of hope that was given to Adam and Eve would light up the sky as the angels announced that God had come to fulfill this very promise, Luke 2:8-21. The shepherds, who were considered to be untrustworthy and unimportant by many, were God's choice to be the announcers of this most wondrous news.
2. God selected Moses to lead His people out of Egypt even though his brothers didn't understand it and therefore rejected him, Exodus 2:11-15; Acts 7:23-29. Therefore, Moses fled to Midian and lived a very ordinary life for 40 years. Instead of immediately taking charge and delivering the people, he lived in relative obscurity as he tended his father-in-law's sheep. When we meet him again in Exodus 3, his boldness seems to have vanished. Even when he was reassured by God that he would surely deliver the people out of Pharaoh's grasp, Moses gave every excuse in the book as to why God should choose someone else. Moses knew his own inadequacies, and so did God. It was to this reluctant one that God made Himself known as I AM. The covenant name of God Whose power would do the work that Moses couldn't do. Yes, in truth Moses was insignificant, but it would be God Who would both go ahead of the people and bring them safely into the promised land, exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 1:31.
3. Jesus chose one little boy and his disciples to participate in a wondrous miracle, John 6:1-11. We never learn this child's name or anything about what brought him to see Jesus. This incident is the only miracle that is repeated in all four gospels.
In John's telling, we learn that it is Andrew who took note that a little boy had brought five small loaves and two tiny fish with him that day. So, Andrew had a special part in what Jesus would do. Yes, he found a bit of food, but after doing so, he noted how insignificant such a small amount truly was. He was correct, of course, if the situation were assessed from a human point of view, but Jesus was there. The One Who scripture says created everything and continues to hold it all together, Colossians 1:15-17 was the One into Whose hands the bread and fish were given. There would therefore be no lack. In fact, there was a twelve-basket surplus!! Think of it. Each disciple apparently was involved in this miracle as he both passed out food and collected what remained after everyone had been fully satisfied. It is fun to imagine it. One little unnamed boy gave a mere bit of food to men who couldn't fathom how such an insignificant offering could feed anyone at all. The outcome couldn't have been imagined by anyone in the crowd; yet, the joy of both being involved in the miracle and benefiting from it surely should have been unforgettable. It reminds me of Ephesians 3:20 where Paul states that the Lord is able to do abundantly more than we can ask or imagine.
What do we have that is small and seems to us to be insignificant? Is it our testimony? Does it seem ordinary? Think of barley bread. It is the bread of the poor; yet, Jesus used it in a magnificent way to satisfy the hunger of thousands of people. We have a love story to tell. The God of the universe set His love upon us and drew us to Himself, Jeremiah 31:3. It makes no difference if we were saved as children or out of the far country of sin. God made us alive even though we were dead, Ephesians 2:1-9. Each of us has a story to tell about a God Who chose us to belong to Him.
Is it a bit of money that looks as if it wouldn't make a dent in any place where we might send it? Andrew would understand. I don't know what would have happened if Andrew hadn't held out the little boy's lunch and given it to Jesus, but that little child would have not had the chance to participate in a personal way in what Jesus did. I wonder what it was like for him to tell his parents about the special way he had helped Jesus?
Is it our organizational skills? When the people sat down, they did so in groups. There wasn't a free-for-all where people simply scattered everywhere. Your gift that helps a game or fund raising project go more smoothly is a vital part of the Lord's work and He can use you in unimaginable ways.
There are so many seemingly insignificant ways to serve Jesus. Something we must never forget is that God is taking them all and putting them together to do a mighty work. So many little things and small acts of kindness don't seem to connect at all, but perhaps an example might be encouraging.
Many years ago, my husband did a bit of latch hook work. The good thing about latch hook, at least to me, is that it is put in piece by piece. When it is all done, though the pieces are single strands, a pretty picture is made. All that needs to be done is to simply follow the printed pattern on the canvas.
How does that fit in with God using insignificant things and people? He is the only One Who has the pattern. We can guess where our little colorful strands go, but in the end, when the full picture is formed, I think we will be amazed how God took our tiny strands and placed them where we couldn't have imagined that they would fit. Amazingly, He does this same thing for each of those Who belong to Him.
Lord, knowing that You use small things and people is a reminder of how great You are. You are the One Who is significant, and we are thankful that You enable us to serve You. Thank You that our adequacy comes from You, 2 Corinthians 3:5-6.
Therefore, no one is too insignificant to matter.