written by my dad for the Methodist Message, Jan 2013
“A NEW YEAR. New opportunities. Time to make new plans. Set goals. Press forward. Let’s do great things for God in 2013!”
I have a confession to make. Great plans and motivational speeches excite and inspire me… but not always. Sometimes I just feel weary after listening to a motivational speaker present great ideas for some worthy project or ministry.
Please do not misunderstand. Plans are important, and we all can benefit from a passionate injection of enthusiastic motivation.
But sometimes I worry. I worry that we speak too much of great and exciting plans. I worry that we start to believe that great and exciting projects reflect spiritual maturity and Christian faithfulness.
I worry that we begin to think that a church which has no exciting project to unveil for the coming year is regarded as a church without life or vision. Christians are inspired by passionate speeches to do great things for God. The church is urged to think big and do big things for the glory of Christ. I worry. I worry that we hear too little of doing small things rather than great things for the glory of Christ.
We need to beware lest our dynamic call to do “great” things for God is misunderstood as implying that the God of the Bible is more interested in “great” things than “little” things. That is not true. Or, to put it more accurately, what the world considers to be great is often completely different from what God regards as “great”. What the world deems “little” may be, in God’s eyes, “great”, and vice versa.
I think the Apostle Paul knew that well. Do you recall what he wrote to the local church in Thessalonica concerning the kind of ambitions they should have for the sake of the gospel? Here it is: (1 Thess 4:11-12)
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands… so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders.”
This is a verse I reflect on at the start of almost every year. I share it with leaders at every local church that I have been appointed to. And I share it with myself again this year at the start of 2013.
I have no “great” plans or ideas for what I want to accomplish in the place that God has appointed for me. I certainly do not want to be so busy with “great” plans and projects that I do not have time to do the “little things” properly. Little things like being a faithful husband to my wife, a loving father to my children, a pastor and friend to all who desire Christian companionship along the journey of life in a world that is often filled with pain and sorrow.
In short, my ambition and plan for this year is to be a bit more like Christ in every area of my life – at home, in the office, at church, or on the golf course. Nothing spectacular, nothing “great” – just the little things which constitute quiet Christian faithfulness. I want to do these “little things” well, for God. I hope you will too.
The Rev Dr Gordon Wong is the President of Trinity Annual Conference.