Great Results from Humble Beginnings
- Summary: Our minds can wrongly put limits on what God can do through us. But God is not restricted by our limitations or the circumstances of our lives. Look beyond your situation to the amazing things Almighty God can do with submitted, willing people.
Genesis 15:1-6 ...(3) And Abram said, “You have given me no children” ... (5) [God replied] “Look up at the heavens and count the stars — if indeed you can count them.” Then he said to him, “So shall your offspring be.”
- •• Our topic today is “Great Results from Humble Beginnings”. A few of you readers may have been born into privileged circumstances. But most of us have come from backgrounds of modest means at best and less than “noble” birth. We, and often our parents before us, had to work hard to achieve a measure of success in the natural aspects of our lives. That is even truer and more important in the spiritual side of our lives. With a firm reliance on God, you can come into victory from even the most inauspicious beginnings.
- •• Your family — raise your children to serve God! Have great faith and vision for them. See them as God sees them. Raise them above all to know God and His Son Jesus, and to love them and serve them with all their hearts.
- • Four thousand years ago the patriarch Abraham began with two sons, Ishmael and Isaac, both born in his old age (still later in life, he had more sons). From one of them, Isaac, through his son Jacob, came the nation of Israel and eventually the Savior, Jesus Christ. Abraham’s small beginning in this regard eventually affected the entire world for good!
- • John Bunyan was born in England in 1628, “of a low, inconsiderable generation” (his own words). Some called him “an illiterate tinker.” But while in jail for his Christian faith, Bunyan wrote The Pilgrim’s Progress. Some estimate that only the Bible has reached more people for Jesus than Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress. He is another example of a person of faith in the Lord emerging from humble circumstances to have a worldwide influence for God.
- • George Whitefield was born in England in 1714, the youngest of seven children. His father died in George’s infancy, and his mother raised them in poverty. But George Whitefield went on to preach 18,000 sermons! Some estimate that he preached a sermon to 100,000 listeners in Scotland, with 10,000 saved through that one message. Again, from small beginnings to great things for God!
- •• Treasure your family. Never stop praying for them and serving as a Christian example for them. My beloved grandfather landed at Ellis Island, NY, as a poor Irish immigrant. He served the Lord all his life and, along with my believing “Nana,” passed that faith on to his own children. I am blessed to say that that Irish immigrant’s faith in the Lord now resides in the hearts of four of his great-grandchildren today — my children. And they in turn are raising their own children to walk with the Lord. Once again, a great heritage can emerge from humble beginnings.
- • “Grammie”, my mother’s mom, had a husband who died suddenly and left her a young widow with seven children. Grammie had to sell the family farm and take a job as a house mother in an orphanage in New York. But she never lost her faith in Christ. Having been saved at age 13, she served Him unflinchingly, with great humility, and at times in considerable privation, for the next 83 years. Her stalwart faith in God was one of the influences in my life towards serving the Lord.
Matthew 13:31-32 ...“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed...  Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
- •• The parable of the mustard seed illustrates our theme today. The seed begins very small, seemingly insignificant. But plant that small seed, and God will cause it to grow, to multiply, to eventually provide comfort, haven, and rest for many others (in this parable, for the birds).
- •• George Müller of Prussia had a vision to build orphanages in England. Starting with only two shillings, and without publicizing his financial needs, Müller prayed in millions of dollars and built orphanages that could house 2,000 children. His humble beginnings led to great fruitfulness in his ministry.
- • Two shillings, a vision from God, humility that never faltered, and much faith — once again, amazing things for God can come from what appears to be a hopeless starting point.
- •• A friend of mine in Anchorage, Alaska, had a vision to start a Christian coffeehouse in 1971. He found a small building in an out-of-the-way location. With a minimal budget, he had to rely on volunteer workers. Soon dozens of spiritually hungry young people began to show up. Many were touched for the Lord through that coffee-house ministry, including a good friend who later became a pastor and has now planted or co-planted three churches.
- •• What is your mustard seed? A minister friend of mine in Alaska had a vision to feed the poor in a downtown park. One hungry young man came to eat, heard the gospel, got saved, and eventually went forth and planted and pastored a thriving church in Ohio.
- • In 1950 another Alaskan pastor traveled all the way to Coos Bay, Oregon, to console a young man whose marriage had recently failed. The pastor took him under his wing, encouraged him, and helped him begin ministering the Gospel in Anchorage. That young man went on to pioneer a great church in Alaska. And that church in turn planted more than 60 additional churches in the USA and also sent a number of missionaries overseas. One loving, caring, older minister reached out to a devastated young man, helped him grow in the Lord, and lived to see the beginnings of that young pastor’s ministry that eventually impacted the world.
- •• What seemingly small thing is in your heart from God to do? Do it, and don’t be surprised if you see God bring amazing results!
Matthew 13:33 He told them still another parable: “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into a large amount of flour until it worked all through the dough.”
- •• The parable speaks of a very little thing — a measure of yeast — leavening the whole lump of dough. Without the yeast, it’s just a useless lump of paste! But the yeast adds “life” to it, makes it grow, turns it into something savory and nourishing when baked.
- •• There are lots of lifeless “lumps” out there near you — many desperate situations and hopeless and hurting people. What “yeast” can you mix into those lumps and see them come to life?
- • perhaps a sincere testimony to an unsaved acquaintance.
- • or an offer to pray for a hurting friend or sick person.
- • or watching the children of an overwhelmed single mom, so she can go shopping or get an evening out.
- • maybe visiting a friend who is ill, or taking baked goods to a new neighbor.
- •• All these are seemingly small things, but they all have the potential for awesome results. Changed lives can come from simple efforts to reach out to people.
Luke 16:10 Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.
- •• Take on the “little” jobs. Ask God, not “how important” is the task, but “where can I help?”
- • As we prove ourselves trustworthy with little, then God can trust us with much.
- • Especially take good care of your family. Then God can add to you additional responsibilities and influence in the lives of more people.
- • Do wholeheartedly whatever task God assigns you. He’ll see your faithfulness and enlarge your roles and your fruitfulness.
In summation, take on even the smallest tasks, and from them God can bring great results. Seemingly insignificant beginnings do not restrict God from bringing about great results. So take on what may seem to be small things, and do them faithfully unto the Lord. There is no limit to what God can do, if we simply prove ourselves faithful to serve Him in whatever He puts before us to do.
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©2013, James H. Feeney.
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by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.