We can only make a difference when we allow God to extend our reach beyond our grasp.
As I was riding with a group of ladies to a women’s conference, the ladies in the back seat told me how much they like the sermon outline my husband includes in the weekly bulletin. For years, Jack has used a “fill in the blank” approach for his sermon outlines. He and I get tickled as we watch heads go down when he gives the key word for a particular blank. We see people leaning together to share answers. We’ve had folks call him or stop us in the hallway because they missed an answer. One woman at a previous ministry told how she and her daughter fill in the blanks before the sermon begins then check to see if they guessed correctly!
What thrilled me this particularly day was to hear how these women pass on the bulletin inserts to friends and family. Then they told how they share the printed prayer list with others. It excites Jack and me to watch God use Jack’s sermons in ways we could never predict or program.
Our reach is indeed farther than our grasp.
Churches face the temptation of measuring success by numbers on the attendance board. That’s such a limiting attitude. Eighty eight people currently like the Roseville Christian Church Facebook page and many of those people do not even attend Sunday morning. That’s an entire second congregation! Whenever I’ve helped with the newsletter at the various churches we’ve served, it amazes me how many newsletter are mailed to out-of-state folks. Our influence goes far beyond the walls of the church building.
I learned this principle a long time ago when I wrote Sunday School Curriculum for Standard Publishing and the Salvation Army. Once in awhile, people would hear that I wrote a particular curriculum, then tell me how they adapted the lesson to fit their classroom. How humbling it was to hear that one company mailed leftover material to the Philippines and missionaries in other countries. I thought my audience was just middle-class America. Instead, the Lord magnified my efforts by taking it across the ocean. And I was the lady who once wanted to be a missionary?
Some days, I feel like I’m not accomplishing much. I don’t see the difference I want to make in the world. Perhaps you feel that way too. Be assured. God is a master at taking our efforts to reflect His grace in the world and shine it far beyond our reach. He magnifies our efforts so our reach will go far beyond what we are capable of accomplishing on our own. His reach is infinite!
Only on Heaven’s shores will we realize the extent of our influence on lives we haven’t even met. If I have the potential for that kind of influence, I want to make sure my initial grasp is the best it can be. So, go ahead. Do the best you can do to make a difference. Leave the results to God. Then stand back and be amazed. Be very amazed!