A Big Story of a Little Guy

February 24th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 12 (NLT)

12 Thieves are jealous of each other’s loot,
      but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

I’m a “growth” kind of guy.  I don’t mean like warts or dermatological blemishes.  I mean that I enjoy watching things grow from seed to fruit.  I don’t farm actual plants; I farm situations and people.

I grew up in a small church in North Nashville.  It was within those walls that I learned so much about life and about ministry.  The people there are still dear to my heart because they were integral in preparing me for my path and purpose today.  I also went to a private school.  Now, as far as private schools go, it was one of the larger ones around.  But compared to public schools in our area, it was miniscule.  Our youth group was even small, consisting of about ten or fifteen kids.

Small was the theme of my life.

Then the day came that I received a scholarship to attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville . . . a huge school.  Twenty-six thousand students spread out across acres and acres of campus.  Big football games!  Big arenas!  Big homecoming parades!  Big, big, big!

Upon arrival, I was ready to put small things behind me.  I was ready to take my “big” talent and use it on a “big” stage.  Sure, it would be honorable and stuff . . . you know, ministry.  However, I was tired of little things.  This was my “big” chance!

So I moved my little self into Reese Hall in the Presidential Courtyard at UT.  The school was big, but my dorm room certainly was not.  My first few days on campus found me visiting several campus ministries . . . you know, the big ones.  I began getting involved in student government and my dreams soared higher than the heavens.  But then one day, my phone rang.

His name was Chuck Lester and he was a missionary to the Tennessee campus.  He told me that he was starting a new college ministry called Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, a coed organization that would help college students meet and grow closer to God.  New organization?  Umm, you’ve got the wrong guy.  That’s small stuff and I’m here to do big things.  Of course, I didn’t vocalize these thoughts.  Reluctantly, I agreed to meet with Chuck.

Wouldn’t you know it, my big dreams were shattered when we decided to say a prayer after talking in my dorm room.  There in my tiny living quarters, I heard the small voice of God leading my little life towards this little new ministry.  Dang it!

So, I became the President of Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship . . . impressive, I know . . . did I mention that I was the only student.  I was the President of one . . . nice.  However, God was growing something in me.  Growth, you see, indicates that something or someone has room to expand.  If the object or person in question is already full-sized, then growth cannot happen.

For me, my years at Chi Alpha were just what the doctor ordered.  I learned that there is no greater joy than watching something grow for the first time in soil that has never before been cultivated.  As it turns out, Chi Alpha didn’t stay small . . . but I did . . . well, except for the freshmen fifteen that I put on.  I learned that life wasn’t about how big my ministry or influence would become . . . it was about the huge change that God’s love can bring in the lives of little, ordinary people.  It’s a lesson I’m still working on.

Now I love little things.  I love the chance to start from scratch and see what can happen. I love teaching someone their first guitar chord or watching them speak for the first time. There’s huge significance in small things.

So what does that have to do with this passage?  Everything.  You see, when we aren’t willing to let God grow His seemingly “little” plans within us . . . when we demand the “big” life right now, we are like “thieves” who are attempting to take something that is not supposed to be ours just yet.  This can apply to life, ministry, relationships . . . anything.  When we skip God’s process, we take something that doesn’t belong to us.  

” . . . but the godly are well rooted and bear their own fruit.”  Well-rooted indicates depth, dirt, and duration of time . . . alliteration strikes again!  Roots don’t form overnight, but they are essential to the longevity and fruitfulness of the rest of the plant.  

So don’t resent little seeds.  Avoid the temptation to try and steal a season that isn’t yours yet to hold.  Embrace the moment of small beginnings.  You never know what big things God is doing in your smallness.


~ by johndriver on February 24, 2009.

3 Responses to “A Big Story of a Little Guy”

  1. You know I always like to think of it this way. Everything has to have a start. You might be the president of a one member only organization (find that whole thing quite humors). Yet the willingness to launch such an effort is clearly taking responsibility to produce the fruit in your life that God is calling you too. He has to call many of us to plant the seed and not just be a harvester of the nice show piece of fruit. Our efforts made at any point in some process should help to produce fruit, yet when we plant, water, cultivate, and harvest we see the results of deep roots. It all has to have a start, and the look at what it produces. I wonder what kinda of fruit is being produced out of that Chi Alpha Ministry fellowship now. Maybe we should ask the hundreds that have been positively affected by it. I wonder if they know the name of their first president?

  2. Very nice, kind sir. Very nice.

  3. Well, this is God being humorous with me I guess. At the overdrive retreat, I talked about how my time is a great challenge. I am getting out of this scripture that I just need to ride with God in the passenger seat. I have been that person that tries to make those shortcuts, you know-take the steering wheel from him sometimes. This is not a wise decision. I would rather just grow really deep with God to make sure I am ready for the “big” that God has later for me. He totally knows my story and what is supposed to take place, so why should I jump the gun! This just might help with feeling stressed from trying to do too much at one time.

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