Greetings, and God bless you again. We do pray that old-time blessing upon you, that God will bless your heart and especially that He’ll use you for His service, make a real witness out of you.
Now in Luke 19:17 God’s Word says: “Jesus said unto the faithful servant, well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Now, He didn’t say “good and successful servant.” He said “good and faithful servant.” “Because thou hast been faithful in a very little, I will make thee ruler over many.”
The world-famous preacher, Dr. Jowett,28 made this comment: “People who are faithful in that which is least wear very radiant crowns. They are the people who are great in little tasks. They win triumphs amid small irritations. They are scrupulous in the ruddy roads of drudgery. They are as loyal wearing aprons in the kitchen as if they wore purple and fine linen in the visible presence of a king. They finish the most obscure bit of work as if it were to be displayed before the assembled heaven, by whom is the Lord of light and glory. Great souls are those who are faithful in that which is least.”
I was reading today about Moses, so faithful in tending sheep on the backside of the desert, but God was watching. He seemed to be a nobody then, a sheep-herder, but there it was that he learned humility, and how he learned to become a nobody. But mark it, in that place of obscurity, where he was a nobody, is right where God spoke to him and chose him to become a great leader for the next forty years. God made him, as our scripture says, “ruler over many.” He was faithful in the small place, in the little things.
Maybe you feel that you’re a nobody, just a sheep tender. I know many mothers, sometimes with a college education, now tending a flock of little ones for years. Sometimes she’s just a nobody and hidden away in the home. So remember this scripture, Luke 19:17. If you’re faithful in the little things, He’ll make you ruler over many. Now the words “very little” in this verse, it says faithful over very little things—“because thou hast been faithful in a very little.” Jesus knew that there’s more self-sacrifice in little things than in the great, because there’s no glory from the world in these little hidden places.
So if you belong to that large group of hidden, humble people, who don’t despise your small place but who do every little thing as unto the Lord and not unto man, your reward will be greater than all those who received the glory of the world and the praise of men. But remember the verse; that’s a wonderful verse out of God’s Word: He chose service as unto the Lord and not unto man.
Notice how many times in the Bible God stoops down and uses little people. It’s most remarkable when you go to study. There was a little maid in the house of Naaman who was instrumental in Naaman’s healing. There was a little servant that later warned Naaman, that if God had asked him to do some great thing, he would have done it. You remember the story, don’t you?29 These were not names such as Elisha, but they were the ones chosen by God to trigger the great event that took place with Naaman and with Elisha; they’re the ones that, as the world would say, started the ball rolling.
Of course, we do not mean “little people” in God’s sight, or little people from the Christian’s standpoint, but just little nobodies in the world’s sight. You’ve known some of them, those hidden lives, so little seen or heard. Oh, how God loves to use these humble ones. He stoops down and lifts up to your notice the widow’s mite, and the cup of cold water, and Mary’s box of spices, and the lad with the loaves and fishes. Just so, you do what you have to do for the glory of God. It makes no difference how little it is; He’ll take it and bring the mighty increase.
As His Word says, “Whatever you do in word or in deed, do all to the glory of God.”30 That’s what makes it big in the end. Someone has said, “If you can’t do big things, then do little things in a big way by doing them in God’s Spirit, in His name and for His glory, and they’ll surely be big things then!”
Some of the greatest things I’ve ever heard have fallen from the lips of unknown, obscure people. Some of the sweetest prayers you’ll ever hear will fall from the lips, not of some great pulpiteer, but from the unknown saint in the Wednesday night prayer meeting, or the dear old grandmother at the bedside of some suffering one. I’ve heard those prayers that have gone straight to my heart, these humble ones.
You know, if God’s going to use you for some greater task in the future, this is the schooling He’ll put you through. That is, the humble, insignificant task, the unseen, the unheard; for it’s there that you develop the capacity for greatness. He’ll also doubtless add trials and testings to take the pride out of you and bring you to a place of humility, where He can use you.
I found a sweet little poem today that blessed my heart when I was reading about second fiddles. Someone had written—I don’t know who—but it said to play the part of the second fiddle (that’s the second place, the humble place), it’s necessary for the harmony and life, but it’s the most difficult instrument to play. It’s hard to play second fiddle.
One of the tragic loves of which the believer may be guilty is that characterized by one we read about: “He loveth to have the preeminence among them” (3 John 1:9). That’s from God’s Word, “He loveth to have the preeminence among you.”
One of the outstanding characteristics of Andrew was that he graciously took the place of second fiddle to his brother. Who hasn’t heard of Martin Luther? But not many know about Philip Melanchthon, his great second fiddle.
I heard Henry Ford say one time, “Whenever you see a bushel of apples, remember, it takes a lot of little apples to hold up the big ones on top.” That’s true of life, isn’t it? We do not all have the place of public notice, but we’re just as essential to presenting the worth of our witness to the world.
Now I’m talking about these second fiddles tonight, these who play second fiddle. It’s there that sometimes you learn to play first fiddle. Elisha was the servant of Elijah, taking care of his bodily comforts, but when Elijah was taken to heaven, Elisha became the prophet of the Lord then. So was Mark, whose service for Paul and Barnabas was very much like the service of a valet, but later he was sent for the ministry, and the Lord used him to bring us the second Gospel.
The clear teaching of God’s Word is “to him that hath shall more be given” (Luke 19:26). If God's choice for you is the place of unseen and unnoticed service, do let the knowledge that He takes notice of your humble place, let that be your comfort. “God is not unrighteous to forget your labor of love” (Hebrews 6:10). Though you feel so hidden and so in the background today, we just pray that you’ll be faithful in the few that He has given. For God’s Word says that He divides to every man severally as He wills (1 Corinthians 12:11).
You feel that you can do so little for the Lord, and your life is so insignificant because you are little and you think you’re of little use. I want to impress you that the greatest, largest, most important work in all the world is open to you. That’s the ministry of prayer, looked upon by the worldly as insignificant, yet in exercising this greatest power in all the universe, God could not give you a greater place.
This which is littlest in the sight of the world is grandest in God’s sight, and it’s at your command, and you’re to bow your head to God’s command. This which is littlest in the sight of the world, I say, is greatest in God’s sight, and this place is at your command. You can have it. Not many people want it. In His Word, God Himself says He looked and found no intercessor (Isaiah 59:16).
Do you feel the world’s needs today? Do you hear the cries for help and comfort? Do you have compassion on the sinner and his emptiness and misery without Christ? Oh, put your ear to the bosom of mother earth and listen to the tread of shackled feet, held in godless oppression. If you really care, pray.
In Luke 4:18, Jesus says, “He sent me to release captives,” to deliver the oppressed, the downtrodden, the bruised, the crushed, broken down by calamities. So many of these the Lord is speaking of now, by prayer you can help set these free. Lift burdens and bring Christ to a bewildered, frustrated, sin-stricken world. There’s a big place for you, a really great place, and it’s open to you.
If you’re bedridden as an invalid, if you’re helpless in a wheelchair, or if you’re one of the aged ones in an old folks’ home, even the dying in the hours of borrowed time, you can pray. What a great ministry can be yours. Someone’s waiting for your prayers now.
Let’s bow our heads and have just a wee word of prayer. Father God, we do thank Thee for these that care about others, these that are so interested in the sick and the suffering, the sinful, that they do take time out to pray. We know, Lord, that You never ask of us a service so complete that leaves no time for resting at Thy feet. And this waiting and expectation, You count a service most complete. So Lord, we ask Thee to lay the ministry of intercession upon these that feel that their lives count too little, that they have such a small place. We pray that Thou wilt lead them to a place of prayer, because of this little suggestion and our prayer. In Jesus’ name we ask it, amen.
God bless you. Indeed, He’s still on the throne and prayer does change things.