“Is suicide the unpardonable sin?”
Since I’ve been a pastor, that’s the question that I’m most frequently asked. Coming in at a close second is, “Do you think Obama is the AntiChrist?” Rounding out the top three is, “Could you please not preach so loud. Some of us are trying to sleep?”
Last Sunday I was visiting the nursing home with a group of men from my church. While I was on my way to a room one of the nurses stopped me to introduce me to a resident that I had never seen before.
The lady was very old. She had a Bible next to her in her wheelchair. When I bent down to shake her hand she asked me about suicide being the unpardonable sin. When I told her that it wasn’t she seemed relieved. A little too relieved. So I asked her if she was thinking about suicide.
A few days before, this lady heard a sermon that changed her mind. The sermon was not preached by John Piper or Mark Driscoll. No, the sermon she heard was from a man in my church who led a worship service at her nursing home. It changed her life. I guess you could even say that it saved her life.
God, in his grace, gives people big platforms for his glory. Men like Daniel had significant influence among political leaders. Charles Spurgeon pastored a huge church a long time ago and his words continue to help people today. But God doesn’t just use people with big names.
For every Apostle Paul, there is at least one Ananias.
Ananias is the man that God told to go and pray over a man named Saul.
“Saul? Are you sure, Lord? I’ve heard about this guy before. He doesn’t like my kind too much.”
“Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
So Ananias went and did what God told him to do and nobody noticed.
There are people of God all over the world who are like Ananias. There’s the woman who will never speak to thousands of people at a conference but who loves Jesus, her husband and her kids. And the faithful pastor of a tiny, struggling church who will never be asked for his thoughts about church growth. But people like this, through obedience and faith, are being used by God to do great things.
We should rejoice for those who have been given big platforms and are using them for God’s glory. We should also remember that most of us are called to be faithful in small ways that will never be noticed by the outside world or even our own friends. But most likely, that small faithfulness will be noticed by someone.
Last week, my friend preached a sermon at a nursing home. Nobody on the Internet or the evening news noticed it. But one hurting woman did. And Jesus was glorified.
He always is when his people obey.
Even in the small things.