God spoke to me when I began a life of ‘ministry’ – whatever that means – that I was never to seek fame/ a ‘platform’/ or income. And for the last 42 years, I’ve spent my life largely in poorer countries, or poor communities in wealthier countries. It’s been my privilege to hold and hug people dying with contagious diseases like AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, typhoid, and more, and pray for them while letting them know they’re loved… many times in the past, yes, they’ve died – BUT some have been healed not because of ‘superpower’ on my part but because of sitting with them, holding them, hugging them, getting covered with their snot, saliva, tears… and you know what? I’ve NEVER caught anything that they have been afflicted with.
The video here was on Facebook today, and features someone who achieved massive success – Tim Tebow, a great American football player, a committed Christian, whose life was impacted by a photograph. A photograph of a starving child that won the photographer the Pulitzer Prize that year. I’ll let Tim Tebow tell the story in the 5-minute video.
Over the 42 years I’ve been serving God as a travelling missionary, it has changed my life many, many times from the person I was when it began. I’m grateful that God spoke those words to me back in 1978, as I could never have survived many of the things I’ve seen, and with God’s help, done. There have been many times, though, when I know that I failed to have more significance because of fear, insecurity, doubt – especially in the early years. I hope and pray that as the years have passed, I’ve grown out of the fears and into a place of wanting to see God move mightily – and genuinely to see Jesus increase as I decrease.
Over the years I’ve met many who were more on the ‘success’ track – I’ve taken a few with me on teams due to my own lack of judgement, and, and have learned the hard way about those in ministry with the wrong motives. I was hugely influenced by a wonderful talk I heard many years ago (I blogged about this some time back) by the late Ken McGreavy, ‘Do you want prominence, or do you want significance?’. I know – and I’m glad – I’ll never be famous, though I love reading reports of people who preach to mega-thousands and see huge results. I love what God has called me to do, though it has its downsides in that the ‘big’ names have a big ‘drawing power’ for raising support.
This isn’t an excuse for me to make a financial appeal, though these ‘pandemic’ days have been something of a nightmare with no preaching opportunities, so no offerings to bolster the regular support, which has taken a big ‘hit’ this year due to the huge fears of the virus with lost donors, humanly understandable, but devastating this end with no offerings!
The wonderful thing is the fulfilment of knowing lives change, even over the internet or phone, and I’m still sure that God has a future and a hope for me in ministry, and that the promised help I’ve been waiting for, which will mean a home of my own, will come, one day. It’s not about ‘success’ or ‘your best life now’ – it’s being significant even when it’s not a world-changing way – just in a life-changing way for many people.
This video clip is well worth watching – Tim Tebow was a hugely successful American Footballer, but his message here is about someone very different – a Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer.
This would be my goal – as John G Lake is quoted below – count the cost, pay the price… not make the profit, of seeing people set free. I heard recently a ‘faith preacher’ (no name mentioned) who said that Jesus went to see him and told him he’d be the first billionaire (US$) preacher. He’s only currently worth a ‘modest’ US$760 million – his glee on the video was obscene. I don’t believe Jesus would do that personally…but to this person, it was the ultimate ‘success’. God preserve me from ever falling into that deception…
So after no blogs for a while, two in an hour! We’d say it’s a bit like waiting for a bus in the United Kingdom – you wait and wait, then two come along at once!