God's preference for the small

Leaving the 99 to find the 1. Choosing 12 disciples out of tens of thousand’s of followers. Paul focusing his energy singularly on Timothy. Calling Abram out of Ur in order to bless all the nations.  Mustard seeds. Yeast. Babies. Meals with a couple of sinners.

It seems that God has a preference for the small.

This runs entirely counter to a culture obsessed with prefixes like mega-, super-, and jumbo-. Over the past few decades the focus of many ministries has moved to the city, which unintentionally resulted in neglecting the small, rural and easily forgotten. Somehow the theology of reaching every nation has succumbed to the idea that they have to be reached all at once, through some sort of grand-sized, large scale, tour de force.

Yet, this was never the ministry of Jesus.

He spoke to the leper on the outskirts, the woman alone at the well, the three disciples on the slope of a mountain, the children and babies; the one, after the one, after the one. Obviously, there were times when he spoke to multitudes, but his next step was always towards the small.

Why, in taking on the greatest system ever known-on earth (sin), did Jesus focus his energy and efforts on the small?

I don’t know.

Quite honestly, this doesn’t make sense to me.

Recently I’ve moved from a large city where I was involved in a large church with large ministries and where I was gaining a large reputation, into a small town with a small church with small ministries where my reputation means nothing. I went from counseling hundreds of people a year to counseling 7 or 8 teenage boys, from teaching Sunday school to hundreds to preaching to dozens. My mind has been so conditioned by the obsession of the large, that I often wonder if it’s enough, if ministry counts when it’s done with only a few. What a sad mindset. For all of the merits of the institutionalized church, it's forgotten the ministry of the small, and in many ways, lost the heart of the matter.

Jesus never sought to change the worlds systems and powers through force and power, though he could. He never set out to change the large in order to impact the small, but inversely, he sought to heal the small, embolden it, and set it free to do further small work.

Most likely, my desire to minister in large, sweeping ways has far more to do with me than it does with the Kingdom. My heart longs for recognition while God’s heart seems to long for restoring the down and out. What I really need is not a large congregation, but the small incisions made by the healer to remove my pride and fill me with Spirit.

My encouragement is this, don’t overlook the small in preference of the big. All the large has to offer is some fleeting acknowledgment.  More often than not, the small seems to have the eye of the King, the blessing of the Spirit and the heart of Jesus. Go and serve the one and leave the kingdoms to the King.