Saturday, April 26, 2008

Servant Evangelism Tip For The Week - Starting Small

So once you catch the vision for bringing the Good News of Jesus Christ to the world, it's common to assume the way to begin is to try to do "something really big for God!" That's certainly the "American way," but in our experience, bigger isn't always better.

We recommend doing something profound: Start small. Remember our motto: small things done with great love will change the world. Small seeds grow into tall trees, and they're small for a reason - to take greatest advantage of the tiniest of openings and opportunities.

Contrary to what you may have been led to believe by television and the movies, changing the world is a pretty simple and humble process. Though it's serious business, it's often really fun, too. You don't have to write a best-selling book or become a missionary to some far away foreign land. World-changing opportunities will present themselves when you step out your door.

One group of Christ-followers we know had a simple idea as they watched people walking down the boardwalk at the beach in Santa Cruz, California. They'd noticed lots of people uncomfortably brushing the sand off their feet as they walked along and wondered, "Didn't Jesus teach his followers to serve by washing feet?" One of the group members relates this story from their experience:

"Our church friends said, 'No one is going to let you touch their feet! You guys are crazy!' But they couldn't have been more wrong.We set up at the Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz about 1:00 in the afternoon. There were just a handful of us. We chose a spot right at the entrance to the beach. Our supplies consisted of two fold-up chairs, two plastic containers, paper towels, liquid Dial soap, a five gallon jug to haul water, and a heart for the lost.

Our opening line went something like, 'Hi, would you like to sit down and let us rinse the sand from your feet?' We had very few refusals! In fact, we were so busy that we actually had people lined up! We took about three minutes with each person. We silently prayed as we worked, but when asked, about 95% of the people let us pray out loud with them. There were many heart touching encounters that day, but there was one I'll always remember. One gentleman from Asia kept calling one of our team members "Jesus." When we tried to correct him and explain who Jesus was, he replied, 'I know who Jesus is, and you are just like him.'

We all knew that if we showed up and were faithful, Jesus would show up, too. And let me tell you, seeing people on that beach through Jesus' eyes was absolutely amazing!"

Maybe this story doesn't sound particularly earth shattering, but we think it's exactly how God likes us to go about changing our world. This little group of board walk foot-washers was responding in the spirit of Jesus to a simple need they had observed. In fact, what they did calls to mind Ephesians 5:1-2 which tells us to, "Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."

When we think of Jesus giving himself up as a sacrifice to God, we're likely to focus exclusively on one event that took place on the cross and forget the lifetime of service that preceded it. Jesus was "giving himself up" all the time. From the moment he awoke in the morning, to the time he went to sleep every night, his was a lifestyle dedicated to serving the Father by serving others.

It isn't one big moment in your life - one big act of service - that will change the world. It's the little things. The everyday things. It's the way you live your life moment to moment, day to

From the book, "Outflow: Outward-focused living in a self focused world" by Steve Sjogren and Dave Ping.

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