If you were asked to list individuals who’ve changed the world, who would make the cut? Nelson Mandela, Emmeline Pankhurst or Martin Luther King Jr. perhaps?
These individuals are indeed remarkable. There are certainly those among us who tear down barriers, make ground breaking discoveries, fight injustice and accomplish super-human acts to transform the lives of others. Chances are that most of our own humble achievements would pale into insignificance in comparison.
A fruitful life
In his book A Fruitful Life, author Jerry Bridges points out that, “few people ever have the opportunity to pull a victim from the wreckage of a flaming automobile.” Bridges goes on to say, “Remember that you are responsible not for doing all the good that needs to be done in the world, but for doing what God has planned for you.”
You may be a heart surgeon, a human rights’ lawyer or a fire fighter faced with life and death situations every day – or you may be a teaching assistant, an accountant or a builder. It really doesn’t matter. What’s important is not so much the nature of the situations you find yourself in, but rather the way that you respond within those situations.
In search of the epic
As humans, we love epic stories of triumph in the face of adversity. The Bible is full of such stories and we can all recall Old Testament heroes such as Daniel, David and Moses. There is so much we can learn from these incredible individuals, but their lives aren’t always that relatable. When was the last time you found yourself inadvertently advising a Pharaoh or parting the Red Sea?
While we focus on the headline-grabbing stories, we often miss out on the teaching we can glean from all those people in the Bible who, through relatively ordinary acts of love and kindness, make an extra ordinary difference to the course of history.
The Bible’s unsung heroes
Do the names Shiphra and Puah mean anything to you? Probably not. But in Exodus 1: 15-21 we learn that Pharaoh ordered these two Hebrew midwives to kill all the baby boys they delivered. They defied him and, in the process, prevented the genocide of the Hebrew nation.
Then there’s Shobia, Machir and Barsillai in2 Samuel 17:27-29. When King David and his troops were on the run these three brave men “brought beds, basins, and earthen vessels, wheat, barley, flour, parched grain, beans and lentils, honey and curds and sheep and cheese from the herd, for David and the people with him to eat.” Without these men and their generosity chances are David’s army would have perished.
These are just two examples we find within the Bible of individuals serving God within their daily lives. There are countless more, and certainly many that never made it into print.
Heroes in our midst
Here at Cinnamon, we’ve met a fair few modern day heroes ourselves. In churches across the country there are individuals who, within the tapestry of daily life are finding ways to pour their hearts and God’s love into their communities. In the process they are transforming the lives of individuals, families and communities for the better.
These individuals won’t receive Nobel Prizes; their life stories won’t be immortalised in Hollywood blockbusters; and their biographies won’t make the New York Times’ best seller list. In fact, they may never even get the recognition from the communities they serve. However, their impact will be written in eternity.
If you think there is nothing you can do, then think again.
Here at Cinnamon, we love nothing more than helping churches to find effective ways to serve their communities. Take a look at our Cinnamon Recognised Projects for inspiration or reach out to one of our Cinnamon Advisors if you need help to get started.
As you find ways to serve God in your everyday circumstances, you just might experience God in new ways too.