What To Do When You Feel Small

Erik Cooper —  January 21, 2016 — Leave a comment

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Last week I sat in a hotel conference room in Dubai for a three day meeting with the following list of people:

• The head of the Russian Pentecostal Church who oversees a Gospel movement that stretches across 11 time zones.

• The pastor of a multi-site South African Church of 30,000 people and two of his staff who are leading a Gospel-restoration movement that is transforming cities.

• A German church-planter and businessman who started 50 congregations throughout Deutschland and is launching business models to support them.

• The leader of an European ecumenical movement that is drawing hundreds of churches together across England for the sake of city renewal.

• The pastor of a 6,000 member Kenyan church and Bishop in the Kenyan Assemblies of God who is building self-sustaining revenue models through schools, housing, and retail that support his church and meet the needs of the community.

• The pastor of a massive Ugandan congregation that cares for 4,000 mothers infected with HIV and their children.

• Two French pastors that are having unheard of Gospel impact on their cities in a post-Christian culture that has long replaced Christianity with secularism.

• The President of a global-impacting missions organization and chairman of a major Christian University.

• The oldest grandson of a famous American evangelical preacher (you would know very well) and acting pastor of a large church in Florida.

• The 80-year-old founder of a global missions organization that has tangibly taken the Gospel to millions of children across the world.

• The pastor of the largest church in India.

• A half dozen other brilliant pastors, missiologists, and organizational leaders.

ª (Oh, and I can’t forget my “Pastor-preneur” brother-in-law who leads a fantastic congregation in Bloomington, Indiana).

Needless to say, I instinctively felt small. Very small. Even as I typed this list my flesh fought back the feelings inferiority. What am I doing in this room? What stories do I have to share that can possibly measure up to what these men are accomplishing? How will the work of my hands ever make that kind of impact? As we obsess and compare within certain circles, it’s easy to shrink.

But throughout the course of our three days together, various members of the aforementioned “superstars” (my word, certainly not theirs) shared insights on the book of Nehemiah, the tumultuous and inspiring story of the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s walls after years of lying in rubble. Each citizen was given a designated section of the wall to rebuild, and therein lies our answer.

Each of us has been assigned a portion of the wall to rebuild. Our portion.

When I feel small, it’s because I’m focusing on someone else’s portion. Someone else’s calling. Someone else’s work. My responsibility is to the work of my hands.

If you’re feeling small today, I challenge you to recenter your attention on what God has called you to. What can you touch? What can you impact? What can you restore? Because all of it – all of us – are vitally important to the overall work at hand.

Now get back to rebuilding.

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