I am not indispensable. Not even close.
As leader of this mission team, there are some responsibilities that fall to me. After all, someone has to organize. Someone has to purchase tickets, make reservations, and serve as a liaison between our team and the native pastors with whom we work. Someone has to assume responsibility to take care of details. The new team members need that. They need someone to answer their questions and give direction to their activities. On this trip, I have been that guy. And, even though two of our members have also made multiple trips here, they have looked to me in the past to handle the basic details., But the truth of the matter is, that with me or without me, God can certainly get the job done.
I was reminded of that again on Wednesday.
Wednesday was going to be a big day. It was the day that we would leave Dumaguete at 7:00 AM do do ministry and evangelism all day in Bais City and points north. I looked forward to working in the field of Pastor Roberto Martin. He is the Chairman of the local Negros Oriental Southern Baptist Association of churches, here on this island. Pastor Martin had been with us in other ministry activities since last Friday. When we traveled to Manjuyod, he and his wife arrived via motor bike to assist with the Crusade effort. When we made the long trip to Lamdas he also came. At Mabinay, he was there, helping to work the crowd and record decisions. I was looking forward now to spending the day with him in ministry.
Martin had a full day of activities planned for us in Bais. After the one and one half hour drive up the coast, we would start with jail ministry in the morning at the Bais City Jail. Pastor Martin has a regular service there each Wednesday morning, and has done so for several years. Then the team would split into two teams, with my group going on north to Bindoy, and Brother Randall's team heading for the area known as Riverside, Each group would do house to house evangelism in their respective locations. Plans further called for both teams to join back together at Bais for a large outdoor crusade at 6:00PM.
I went to bed late Tuesday night with a feeling of anticipation. I also took with me a feeling of a slight pressure in my head, what seemed like the beginnings of a sore throat and a little tickle in my right ear.
When the alarm went off at 5:00AM, my fears were confirmed. I had a full blown sinus infection, sore throat and ear ache. It felt as if someone had blown up a balloon in my head, and the stark reality hit me that there is no way I could be a positive addition to the team that day. After a quick meeting with a couple of other members of the team, it was decided that I should remain behind, take meds, rest, and pray for the rest of the team as they proceeded on to Bais City.
Talk about frustration! I did not travel half way around the world to lie in a hotel room, while the rest of the mission team went on without me, but God apparently had other plans for me - and for the work that day.
The long day passed slowly, and I was anxious to hear something from the rest of the group, but there was no contact from them. Finally, my roommate and brother in law, Gene Bennett, came into the room about 10:30 PM, with the news that they had experienced a wonderful day of ministry - and had seen the power of God exhibited as 327 people had made professions of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ in that one day! The conversions in that one day alone nearly doubled the number of previous decisions from the full week up to that point - and God did it all WITHOUT my assistance and expertise!
To God be the glory.
And once again, He reminded me, that His work can be accomplished - with my help or without my participation. A lesson in humility that I have known for a long time, but also need to be reminded of, now and again.
Sometimes we pastors act like the work cannot go on without us - but it certainly can - and sometimes does...
Now don't get me wrong here. God CAN and DOES use individuals to accomplish the task. But we must realize that He doesn't have do depend fully on us to get the job done.
An old friend once used this illustration to show how indispensable each of us really are. "Hold your arm in a bucket of water" he said, "and then pull it out. How big of a hole does it leave? That's how indispensable you are to God's work!"
I remember Granny talking about folks who "get too big for their britches". Well as the old song says:
"One monkey don't stop no show.
One monkey don't stop no show.
And let him do anything he choose.
There's a million men who can fill his shoes.
One monkey don't stop no show!"
Thanks for the reminder, Lord.
Thanks for the reminder, Lord.
Lesson learned - again.