Last Sunday, Bernice and I joined Evangel Baptist Church for their 40th anniversary lunch. There was an anniversary service earlier in the day but we missed that because we had a ministry commitment elsewhere. I was part of the original congregation that started the church in the late ’70s. It was good to see old friends again, most of whom I had not met in decades. I saw many familiar faces but I had forgotten many names.
One brother walked up to me. He looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t recall his name. He shared with me the story of how he had come to join Evangel. He visited Evangel for the first time during a Christmas service many years ago. I thought he was going to say that I had preached and that my sermon had touched him. Instead, he said that Rev Michael Shen had preached at that service and his sermon was entitled “No Place In Our Lives”. He said that a young man sitting next to him had kindly shared his hymnal with him, and that that gesture had left a deep impression on him. It was one of a number of things that led him to join the church. That young man was me.
I thanked him for sharing that account with me. A few thoughts went through my mind when I heard his story. One, that I can’t remember that encounter but that it sounded like something I would do. Second, that ministry doesn’t just happen in high-profile ministry encounters. A life can be touched by something as simple as someone sharing a hymnal. I needed to be reminded.
Earlier in the morning I had preached at a worship service and it seemed to have gone down well. I often think that the more important things I do for Jesus are preaching and mentoring. Perhaps what I do is not as important as the spirit in which I do it. I believe it was Mother Teresa who said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”
Maybe our main focus shouldn’t be on growing in competence so that we can do the big things for God. Maybe our main focus should be: How can I grow in Christlikeness? How can I better mediate the Spirit of God though my life so that whenever I encounter people, whether in a sermon, or in the sharing of a hymnal, people encounter Jesus?