Grace And Truth
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 8 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Grace And Truth)
When I was a student at East Texas Baptist College, I took a course in Pastoral Theology taught by the President of the college in the college chapel. It was basically for preacher boys.
Every Monday morning we would give a report of our activities for the weekend. On this particular Monday morning, I was as happy as a young preacher can be. I had accepted my first pastorate the day before. It was the Marris Chapel Baptist Church of Bogata, Texas. It had 19 members and my salary was $15 every two weeks.
That particular Monday morning I situated myself on the front row at the end of the row so I could be asked first for the weekend report. Sure enough, the teacher looked at me and said, "Mr. Hyles, what did you do over the weekend?"
I stood to my feet and said, "Dr. Bruce, yesterday I was called to pastor a little church up in the country." Dr. Bruce said, "Sit down, Mr. Hyles!"
I couldn't understand what I had done wrong. Each preacher who had a report to give spoke until the reports were over. With tears in my eyes I looked at Dr. Bruce and asked what I had done wrong. Why had he told me to sit down and rebuked no one else?
Dr. Bruce looked at me very soberly and said, "Mr. Hyles, you said that you were called to pastor a, 'little' church up in the country. Mr. Hyles, there are no little churches!"
I learned something that day that I have never forgotten. May I share it with you today.
1. God uses little people. Who killed Goliath? David, the least likely son of Jesse. Who led the Israelites with a band of 300 men to defeat the enemy? Gideon, the smallest boy of the smallest family of the tribe of the smallest nation in the world. Who gave birth to the great Moses? A little slave lady named Jochebed. Who pointed Naaman, the captain of the host of Syria to Elisha? A little maid who attended Naaman's wife. Who rimmed the Mediterranean Sea with the Gospel and became the greatest missionary the world has ever seen? Paul, whose name means "little." Who was the greatest giver mentioned in the Bible? A little widow who gave her two mites, but they were all that she had. Who took two continents and lifted them closer to God? Dwight L. Moody, with a ninth grade education and saved when he was a shoe store clerk in Boston. Who brought revival to America at the turn of the century looked like all was lost? A drunkard named Billy Sunday, who stumbled into the Pacific Garden Rescue Mission and received the Saviour.
There were many wealthy and great men living in Palestine at the time of the birth of our Saviour, yet His birth was announced to humble shepherds watching their flocks by night. There were many of various and profound learning living in and around Bethlehem; yet it was the ears of simple men who heard the announcement first. It was to humble sheepherders that Heaven's choir sang.
There were many ascetics who had left home to fast and pray in the desert, yet it was not their ears that heard the announcement. It was not their eyes that saw the angels, it was not their arms who cradled the Christ child. It was not their lips that kissed His brow. It was not their home where He was born or at their table where He sat. The greatest news the world was ever given or ever heard was sung to lowly shepherds as they watched their flocks on Judean hills.
2. God uses little places. At the birth of our Saviour there were palaces, estates, hotels and universities, yet it was a manger that cradled the Christ child. It was hay that padded His crib.
Where was the last supper eaten? In an upper room. Where was the power of Pentecost prayed down? From that same upper room. Where was David found? Tending sheep. Where was Gideon found? Behind the winepress threshing wheat. Where was Jesus buried? In a borrowed sepulchre. Where were most of the epistles written? From a jail cell. Where was Moses when he was called? On the back side of the desert. Where was Dwight L. Moody discovered? In a shoe store.
Yes, God uses little places and does great things in them.
3. God uses little things. Someone came to Michelangelo one time as he was painting and asked him why he spent so much time on trifles. He replied, "Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle." Little things are important. God used the little lunch basket of a little lad to feed 5,000 people. He used an ox goad in Shamgar's hand to slay 600 Philistines
and win the battle. He used the rod of Moses with which to part the Red Sea and bring water from the rock in Horeb. Jesus used mud from which to make medicine to heal blind eyes. Jochebed used an ark in which to protect the greatest of all the Israelites.
Years ago Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., came to our house. Becky, who is now married and the mother of two children, was three years old at the time. She came toddling to the living room. Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., reached in his pocket and took out a carton of assorted Lifesavers and gave it to Becky. She reached into her breast and took her heart and gave it to Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. He took time for her that day. She loved him. She never forgot that gracious deed performed by this great man. She often spoke of Dr. Bob Jones, Sr. and that package of assorted flavor Lifesavers. Ten years passed. I was speaking at Bob Jones University for a few days. Dear old Dr. Bob was getting up in years and was getting rather senile. He was me and came to me. He asked, "How is Becky?" I couldn't believe my ears. Could he remember her name after ten years? Could he who is now getting senile remember a little three-year-old girl?
I replied, "Dr. Bob, Becky is fine. She will have her thirteenth birthday next Saturday. By the way, Dr. Bob, you are her
favorite preacher. She has loved you ever since you visited our house that day and gave her a package of assorted flavor Lifesavers." A tear moistened his eye, and I think I saw a quiver in his lip.
The next Saturday on Becky's thirteenth birthday a package came addressed to Miss Becky Hyles. It was postmarked from Bob Jones University, Becky excitedly opened it and what did she find? A carton of assorted flavor Lifesavers! Little things are important.
When our Saviour rose from the dead, He took time to fold the grave clothes. When He died on the cross, He took time to be sure His mother was cared for.
4. Little tasks are important. Everything was important to Jesus. He could have preached a sermon on the mount every morning, but He did not choose to do so. He could have stilled a storm every evening, but He did not choose to do so. He could have been transfigured every day, but He did not so choose. Every day He could have fed 5,000 people, but this He did not do. He could have ascended to Heaven every night and come back the next morning for His work on earth, but He decided against such a procedure. He took time to talk to one woman beside the well, to one man at midnight, to one Zacchaeus up a tree, to one blind Bartimaeus beside the Jericho road.
Yes, every task is important. You say, "But I'm only a mother. I'm only a Sunday school teacher. I pastor just a small church." Remember, God can use little people in little places with little things doing little tasks to perform great works and miracles!
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