When The Call is “Small” 

Pastor P. Johnson, N. California  

    You should have seen his face drop when I told him where I felt that my wife and I were called to do ministry.  He was the national church planting director for a denomination and my wife and I were with several other couples at a church planter’s assessment.  We have been called to serve in a rural county where many communities cannot support a full-time pastor.  As we talked with him about these communities that we felt called to reach, phrases like “growth potential” and “financial feasibility” were thrown out as concerns about the denomination supporting the vision I had been given.   I wasn’t surprised; I had almost expected it; but it still stung.


    Some of the thoughts that swept over me the next few days and months were things like, “Maybe you should go somewhere you can make an impact.” “If you had been a better steward of your gifts, the Lord would have sent you someplace with more potential, perhaps given you a larger field to work in.” It has been in these doubts and accusations that the Lord has had to meet me several times to turn my eyes back to himself, his example, and his character. 

    Jesus reminded my heart that he spoke to large crowds, yes.  But he cared for a small flock. The Good Shepherd is described in terms of how he cares for his sheep, not the number or location of his flock.  Being the faithful shepherd, He lost none that were truly His (John 17:12). He reserved the words, “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” for those who were faithful with what they’d been given, not just those who brought the greatest return (Matthew 25:21). The Good Shepherd lays down his life (John 10:11).  He even leaves the 99 sheep to search for the single lost lamb (Matthew 18:12).


    In no part of the world is this selflessness, this total reversal of ambition and priority, intuitive or ‘sensible.’ It offends our logic as to what is of greatest significance.  Jesus offended his disciples and many others on numerous occasions when he suggested that the greatest serves the least (Luke 22:24-27). While in context, this refers to status, it serves to remind us of reaching those in remote and forgotten places of this world.


    So I am thankful that the Lord confronts me with his greater truths, the very truths that saved a wretch like me.  He uses the foolish things of the world to save the wise, and the weak to make his glory known (1 Corinthians 1:27).  May I encourage you to rejoice in these simple truths with me and celebrate that no call from the Lord is too small.