I’m not gonna lie – sometimes I get jealous. There are some skills and talents that just seem more awesome /helpful /needed /appreciated than others. And while I know in my heart that God sees things differently than we do, sometimes I forget.
So, as we prepared for this mission trip to Ecuador, I had already kind of questioned how useful I would be. Some people have awesome medical skills and training, which always come in handy. Some actually speak the language of the country we would be visiting – you can probably imagine how helpful that is.
I’ll start out by saying that I do believe God has given me gifts. He gives them to all of us. It’s just sometimes hard to see where they can make a difference in some situations.
There were times I had some ordinary, seemingly small jobs during this trip.
During the soccer tournament in Ibarra, Shawn played soccer, Noah performed with the drama team – I was mostly the keeper of the backpacks.
I also did A LOT of passing out flyers in Ambato – flyers about the church, flyers about the medical clinic, flyers about the “big event” with the Colombian pastor who used to live a life of drug crimes, but now speaks the love of Jesus to the largest church there. There is certainly nothing fancy about passing out flyers.
In addition to these things, I prayed a lot. There are plenty of opportunities to talk to Jesus while being keeper-of-the-backpacks. And it was needed. As I shared before, prayer is a big deal.
In 1 Samuel 30, David shares how we should view the keepers-of-the-backpacks.
David and his men had gone off to fight, and when he made it back to his town he saw the Amalekites had taken everyone from his town, including his two wives, and burned the town down. David heard from the Lord that he would assist them in rescuing the people. Six hundred people started out, but two hundred of them stayed behind because they were exhausted.
The four hundred remaining men were successful with God’s help and were able to bring back their people and valuables. When returning to the town, some of the four hundred decided it wasn’t fair for the two hundred who stayed behind to get any of the “plunder.”
David disagreed. In verse 23, “David replied, ‘No my brothers, you must not do that with what the Lord has given us. He has protected us and handed over to us the forces that came against us. Who will listen to what you say? The share of the man who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike.’”
Every victory that happens is because of God, not us. Because of that, there are no small jobs, and the obedient keepers-of-the-backpacks can hold their heads up just as high as the warriors can.
All of the jobs we are given are important, both in Ecuador and at home. Nothing we do for God is wasted. (Thank you, Lord, for that!)
The Sunday morning after the soccer tournament, we heard news that 75 people from Ibarra attended church that morning at Puerta Abierta, a record for this young church. Many of those individuals came because of the activities that happened on Saturday, like the soccer tournament. Out of that 75, many came forward to pray, with 8 of those accepting Christ for the first time!
In Ambato, more than 400 showed up to learn about the redeeming grace of God, with 76 accepting Christ that evening! And others came to know Jesus the next morning in the Ambato church service.
Like the kid who gave his lunch to Jesus in John 6, where Jesus took what the boy offered and multiplied it to fill the need and fill the bellies, Jesus took what we had to offer, and did something big with it.
A song we used to sing in church said, “Little is much, when God is in it.”
We each gave our little– playing soccer, praying, giving candy to a child, joining them in a hula hoop game, taking a temperature, and passing out flyers.
But God turned it into much, as more than 100 people were blessed with a new relationship with Christ and the promise of Heaven. Thank you, Lord.
As we gathered for our own worship that Sunday afternoon, our speaker, Chris Stringer, gave us a message about obedience. He said, “Complete and immediate obedience is your greatest calling as a Christian.”
It’s not which job we have that matters, but whether we choose to obey.
Whatever your job is- whether you are on a mission trip right now, or reading this from your home in your pajamas, be obedient. If He is asking you to move to South America, to the inner city of the area where you already live, or to offer to babysit for someone who needs a break, do it.
He will do much more with it than you can imagine.
“Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” I Corinthians 12:27