Once I was in a position where I spent many hours in a car just listening to the talk of those around me. They were people who I had been ministering to for some time (years in some cases), and who I was taking to a Christian event (I am being intentionally vague). As I listened to them I could reflect on the priorities of their hearts, as was reflected by what consumed their conversation and what seemed to excite them, and I found myself wondering, “Is there any hope? It seems like God is so little a part of their lives and conversation—and their interests—and the things that consume their time and energy and passion seem so removed from Him . . .” As I listened I got really down and began to wonder, “What is it all about? Am I doing any good?” It seemed that the world and its lures was so overwhelmingly dominate in their lives, and that God was just a spoke on their wheel instead of its hub . . . One who was rarely even mentioned.
Later at the event, in a worship setting, I was behind many of them, watching them and reflecting and my heart was sad. Then, it was as if God started taking me down the line, one by one. He started reminding me of a role I had played in each of their lives—a time in each of their lives I had stood with them through some tremendous pain they were going through personally, or because of choices in their families. They each seemed so confident now, and “all together,” but I knew that in each of their lives, at a private time, there had been pain, uncertainty, tears, and fear. There were some amazingly hard times I had been through in their lives with them . . . and the thing was, few of them knew anything about those times in the lives of the ones they were standing next to. I realized that, in a quiet way, Jesus had allowed me to be His hands and feet and words in most of their lives . . . and no one but Him, them, and Mary Ann would ever know. (Note: It wasn't just His voice I heard—the enemy was quick to remind me, as well, of all the times I fell short in people's lives, all the times I was selfish and didn't minister when I could have, and all the times I just blew it.)
As I reflected, I realized that, for most of those in front of me, I probably wouldn’t be there to see the moment when God broke through for them and became not just a belief and a theology, but the center of their lives. I had been privileged to play a small part in it—to stand with them, hold them, comfort them, and show them Him for a moment. But, for so many, when the pain had become a distant thing, the world had pulled them back toward it. Yet, I knew that I wasn’t responsible for their choices, but had been faithful when asked. It was then like He asked me (or, I asked myself?), “Is that enough?”
I don’t share any of this to lift me up—each and every one of you have been there for people and touched people’s lives in quiet, but powerful ways—I share this more as a point of reflection for us, because I think that we all face the same question(s) as we seek to serve God. As the Spirit prompted that question, “Is that enough?”, I had to answer it in my heart. I had to face the question and wonder, “Am I OK with no one knowing the half of what I do or have done, and with maybe not even having it appreciated over the long haul by those I ministered to?” Then came the second half, “Am I OK just being obedient and being a part of their journey—being a surrendered vessel which Jesus was able to fill and use in their life to show them a little bit of Him—even if it means I don’t get to share in the joy of their final turning to God in total surrender some day, or even if I never get the encouragement of knowing that they have given their lives to Him?”
It was then that the question became fully apparent to me, “Is it enough?” Is it enough that only God knows what I have done, and that He is pleased—or do I need to see results, do I need others to know, do I need to promote myself and defend myself? Is it enough to have Jesus smile and quietly whisper, “I know. Thank you.”. . . which, in the end, really means the question is, “Is He enough?” Is it enough for me to love and serve my Master, without the world ever thanking me, or without even ever knowing if it made a difference, and without ever being considered a great pastor, without my blog ever having a huge following, or without my ever having a name that is known outside its little boundaries?
Some time back at Hume Lake Christian Camp where I was with some youth, Moi was the band and a song of theirs, It Pleases You, caught fire over the weekend and became the essence of the weekend. The core of the song talks about yielding our life to Him and it has the chorus, “It may not make a difference, it may not change a single life, it may not move a single stone, but it pleases You, it pleases You, it pleases You, it pleases You, oh cause it pleases You, cause it pleases You, I come, I come, I come.”
Is it enough—because it pleases Him? Is He enough? Or do I need more. It is a question I have to reflect on not just once, but I have to return to repeatedly as the world seeks to draw me away as well.