I have preached in front of three people. I’ve led awkward Bible studies for two or three disinterested young students. I have been close to canceling major events where I expected hundreds, but only a couple dozen showed up. I’ve served in ministries that shrank and fought and panicked and split.
If you’re there right now: don’t get discouraged.
Sometimes God calls you to be faithful even when it’s not fruitful.
He is still doing something amazing. But those breakthroughs only happen when we persist, persevere, and press forward. We love to see instant miracles, but miracles can grow slowly too.
We are tempted by a future where we have finally arrived to the big time — but maybe this is it, this moment, where you are called to be completely engaged and totally present, eye to eye, face to face, heart to heart, with your one or two young disciples. To change even one life is the big time.
Imagine if you got everything you wanted now: if you had your own megachurch, your big business, the CEO title, the million followers, the record label, the book deal. It might be the worst thing that could ever happen to you.
For me, I know that if I got everything I wanted when I wanted it, I would’ve turned out to be an intolerable, arrogant, prideful jerk. God wrecks us through humility. He breaks our stubborn heifer necks. He trains us, if only we would receive His discipline as grace.
Jesus had twelve. He preached in a way that gathered hundreds, but then he would say something like, “Eat my flesh, drink my blood” — and he would be back down to twelve. He really only had three. And in the end at the cross: none.
If we are called to be like Christ: let us be last so we may be first. Let us crucify our flesh to the world, carry the cross, deny ourselves, and follow him with all obedience.
Don’t give up. Teach your two or three. Be all there. Don’t look too far ahead. Enjoy this day the Lord has made. Don’t hold back for some future-version of you. Pour out your life to those around you now.
The fruits will come. Sometimes the fruit is you.