We’re planning a vacation bible school for especially the unchurched, and man has there been so much pressure to bring in the hordes. We’re a brand new team, with barely anyone who has planned these sorts before.
Nearly everyone we talk to asks how many have signed up! And there are those who insinuate, through regular speech and prayer for us, that we need to pray more, have more faith and trust more in God. Because that’s what they did in previous years, and that brought in the numbers.
Thing is, we have been praying, seeking God since Day 1. But God decided to send only a trickle in when registration began. After three weeks of publicity, we had 3 sign ups. That grew to 6, 9 and 14. We’d say things like ‘God increased our total attendance by 200%!’ or ‘Praise God, we’re now double the size!’ But this was a far cry from the 60 we’d planned for. And we had an army of helpers standing by – but few attendees.
Deep down, we were discouraged. We wondered if we’d be the first team that messes up this annual event. We wondered if people would come to know Jesus through this – or walk out unchanged, remembering only a day of fun.
Then God opened the floodgates. People began telling us it’s not about the number of children who come, but that we tell the good news of why we all need Jesus faithfully. The evangelism team went knocking on doors in our flatted neighbourhood, and the week we joined them, two signed up on the spot. We were floored. The next time they went out, 10 signed up on the spot. And more continue to show interest.
Church members began signing up their children as participants and helpers. And more brought in other children they’ve been trying to reach. Did I mention we were floored?
This morning I read shereadstruth’s introduction to Nehemiah, and was just going ‘Amen’ all the way. To quote, “The book of Nehemiah is a remarkable story about God using regular, God-fearing folks – not just the big, impressive leaders – to accomplish His redemptive purposes.”
That is amazing. God is so big, so great, He doesn’t need to use us. He controls the wind, the seas. He made the sun and moon and stars. We control the television, stove and computer. (Just kidding. We don’t even know how to fix it if it breaks down.) And yet, God chooses to use us. God uses regular, God-fearing folks to accomplish His redemptive purposes.
We don’t know how many children will come to know Jesus from the event. We pray they will. We pray that some will join us every week after. But what we do know – God will use small, not-quite-so-eloquent us to tell why what Jesus did on the cross is such a big deal. We know God will plant the seed of the gospel. It is our duty to be careful in planting it. But its growth, its fruit – ah, that comes all from God. That’s so liberating!