More is not always better!
A few days ago, I was the MC at a teaching seminar for young
people who wanted to learn the skills of evangelism and was really enjoying
myself watching them learning the techniques of sketchboard, drama, mime, rope
tricks....it was fantastic and I was excited that we were able to teach around
25 young people in the one programme, as I am a great fan of time management and
efficiency (although it's not always noticeable in my life). One of my
favourite phrases is 'the bigger the better', closely followed by 'the
more the merrier'.
Then it was time to hand over to the speaker who was taking
the devotions for that morning. I sat back comfortably in preparation for
something exhorting and uplifting and wasn't disappointed. He started off by
setting the stage in Luke 19 where Jesus was passing through Jericho. There was
a great crowd with Him and, as the speaker put it -– taking a little poetic
license with the passage -– "the disciples were all excited about this great
big rally that they had lined up at a local stadium where many people were going
to be touched by the Lord. Imagine their horror when Jesus stopped under a
sycamore tree and looked up at a tax collector no less, and worst of all,
invited Himself to tea with him. I can hear them mumbling now -– "We can't
stop here, there are crowds waiting for ministry.....the needs of the many
outweigh the needs of the few (especially when they're only repellent little
tax collectors, the lowest of the low...).....what about all the other people?
Surely it's better to do miracles with lots of people than to have tea with
one man -– more people would hear about the Kingdom of God if we stuck with the
Having been a part of large evangelistic events over the
years, I'd always congratulated myself on 'another job well done' as the
people filed out and I considered how good it was that we managed to get the
message to that many people at one go. However, I had never realised that
reaching the most was never Jesus' main focus at all.
I can't tell you how many times I've heard sermons on
Jesus leaving the 99 and going to rescue the one little lamb who was lost but
while I applauded the sentiment, it had never really hit home before that He
ACTUALLY LEFT 99 TO GO AND SAVE THE 1!
Jesus' priorities are totally opposite to ours. When
looking through the gospels, there are many times when He left ready-made crowds
that most evangelists would die for, to go somewhere else and preach -–
sometimes that place that He would go to would contain only a well and an
audience of one, and a woman at that. The worst part of it was that she wasn't
even prominent or influential in the local city's affairs, wasn't on any
committees that could ensure the message getting into the local market grapevine.....yet
Jesus stopped there specifically for her.
With the concept of Jesus 'loving the one' in mind, I
started thinking (always a dangerous thing to do...) and began to consider more
practical things such as how many times I had left the needs of my family in
order to do ministry. How many times had I put my children off so that I could
talk to a group of people? How many times had I actually asked the Lord whether
He wanted me to talk to the one person that approached me or the many people
that were sitting in the auditorium? (I am not advocating that you go out and
cancel all bookings....just wondering whose work we are doing and under whose
So many times I have gotten involved in various events
feeling that I'm doing a great work for the Lord but when it all boils down,
according to 1 Corinthians 3:10-15, am I building out of the right materials?
Secondly, did I let the Lord lay the foundation that I am currently building on?
Seems to me that if I am not building out of the right
materials and if the Lord didn't lay the foundation, because I wouldn't let
Him, then when I stand before Him on the other side of life, then I will be a
part of that horrible scenario described in Matthew 7:21 -– "Not everyone
who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord', will enter the kingdom of Heaven, but only he
who does the will of my Father who is in Heaven. Many will say to me on that
day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name drive out
demons and perform many miracles? Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew
you. Away from me, you evildoers!'"
To avoid this terrible consequence, I need to get back into
John 15 where Jesus tells us that if we 'abide' or live in Him, He will bear
the right fruit through our lives as He directs us as to what we should be
I would like to finish on a very unspiritual but very apt
note with a quote that I heard while watching a remake of an old classic movie
called 'Sabrina'. She is taking photographs for a man named Linus to help
him sell his home. She asks which views of the property he wants and he
flounders for a bit and then directs her to take all of them whilst vaguely
waving his hand around, indicating the more she takes the better. She says, "More
is not always better, Linus. Sometimes it's just 'more'."
I can imagine the Lord saying the same thing to me and maybe
adding, "Sometimes, one is enough!"