I Was Once A Hero

[From the archives.]


The Cliffhanger

When I was eleven or twelve, a friend and I were climbing a cliff at the beach in the town where I grew up. I reached the top first and looked down to see his progress. He was frozen in place, a little more than halfway up. He couldn’t move up or down, and despite me telling him where a good handhold was, he couldn’t let go of the grip he had on the rocks right in front of his face.

Pacifica Cliffs

Pacifica Cliffs – USGS photo

I lowered myself back over the cliff’s edge and made my way to his side. Once there I was able to show him right where he should put his hand next. I’d put my hand on a rock and then remove it, and he’d then put his hand there as I placed my arm around his waist to steady him against the rock wall. We repeated the process and soon he was at the top.

I have no idea why that happened to him. It wasn’t the first time we’d climbed the cliffs together, and he was usually a fairly brave kid. Braver then me, anyway.

I’ve gone back to those cliffs now that I’ve grown up. They’re not that big.

Doing Big Things

Everything we do for God in his kingdom is big, because everything we do in it is eternal. How can it be so big when we’re so small? As Paul said about his ministry:

Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done – by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. (Romans 15:17-19.)

And it’s not just in signs and wonders and leading people “to obey God” that we serve God. It can also be in simple acts, like providing hospitality.

Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2.)

Christ living through us applies to all aspects of our lives, at home, at work, in society.

For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:15-17.)

Why are all these day-to-day things, the mundane stuff of life, so big? Because the Spirit of Christ – God himself – lives in us, and there’s nothing small about God.

You, however, are not in the realm of the flesh but are in the realm of the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God lives in you. And if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, they do not belong to Christ. But if Christ is in you, then even though your body is subject to death because of sin, the Spirit gives life because of righteousness. And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you. (Romans 8:9-11.)

I’ll say it again. The Spirit of Christ lives in you. How can you not do great things, when he is the one producing fruit in God’s kingdom through you? (John 15:1-8.)

Does it have to look like a big deal? Do you have to be seen as a big deal? No, because in God’s kingdom sometimes things look really small and sometimes people look just like lowly servants. (Mark 9:35.)

But it’s always all about Jesus, and that’s a big deal.


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19 Responses to I Was Once A Hero

  1. Pastor Bob says:

    “But it’s always all about Jesus, and that’s a big deal.”
    says it all and well.

  2. marycstewart says:

    Ooohhhh, I so needed to read what you had to say today. Thanks for being obedient to the prompting of the Spirit in your writing. You’re encouraging more people than you can know.

  3. Jeannie says:

    Thank you for this, Tim. I need that constant reminder that the small things in life really are big, because God is in them and empowering them. I probably commented with this same quote the first time you published this post (because I share it anywhere and everywhere I can): “Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.” (from Tolkien’s The Fellowship of the Ring) I love this quote for many reasons, one of which is that it hints at that upside-down kingdom of God where the small are big, the weak are strong, and the last are first.

  4. I have been puzzling over doing seemingly small things, but this confirms what I have been thinking (praying). It might seem small to me, but God has His own plans – and it’s ok to just do the ‘small’ things, if that’s where He leads. Very good post.

  5. Laura Droege says:

    Great post and very encouraging, Tim. It’s good for us to remember this when we do small things, but also when we see other people who are “lowly servants” doing “small” things. It changes one’s perspective on other people!

    • Tim says:

      Good point about the people around us. No one ever does anything small in God’s kingdom. When it’s done for the King, it’s always a big thing.

  6. Michelle says:

    I really needed this today. I struggle with hearing the constant, “Where will you serve?” prompting that goes out constantly at our church. I’ve felt guilty and pressured to do more, but having three kids, one of whom has special needs, tending to their needs is all I can muster at this season of life. I may not be going on mission trips around the world, but sweeping the floors and tending to my family is huge in God’s eyes. Thanks so much for the reminder that it’s enough!

    • Tim says:

      It’s not only enough, Michelle; it’s monumental. Yay for the Spirit working in and through us for God’s glory!

      • Ruth says:

        You rock Michelle! Doing your job, especially with a special needs child is more than enough…been there……
        There will be a time in your life when things change, and what you do will change, but nothing can change the service to your precious children! I’m sitting at home with yet another broken bone, but I can type, so, I post where I feel led, and that is enough, because God gave me what I can do, rather than people nagging about what I don’t do. Guilt isn’t God given about how we serve. If we even have the desire, then He gives us a way, and He will give you peace, because you can’t serve everyone else and not serve yourself as equally. You must care for yourself as Gods child too, and you know when enough is enough if you ignore guilt and comcentrate on the amazing joy of your children.
        Swing that broom high and praise God you don’t have guilt you have guts!!

  7. Ruth says:

    Our service these days is a Sunday spotter special, other than morning tea and communion. We wander around, or stand and watch, and see who is on their own, new to church etc, then we go and chat, take them to the tea and coffee, listen, and help to find places they might fit in the church…home group, out for coffee, Facebook invitation, ask them to the next church activity, and introduce them to at least 2or3 other people in the church. It flows well as God guides and is always rewarding. Amazing what a first up greeting and cuppa can result in, and it’s a small thing to do, but having experienced ‘frozen shoulder’ from churches before, we know it’s the little things that count. Jesus says a cup of water given in His name, by our attitude is done for Him to His glory.

    • Tim says:

      That is one of the best ministries I’ve ever heard of, Ruth. What a great way to bless people and let them know they are welcome.

      • Ruth says:

        Tim, you don’t know just how encouraging and what a blessing you are to so many people! I’m sure I’m at the front of a very long queue of those God has used you to help, encourage, witness faithfullyto by standing by your convictions, and having the courage to speak out against wrong teaching or get people thinking and searching.
        Guilt was my daily, minute by minute companion until Jesus led me to reading your blog, being able to reply, AND, I can trust you to be firm and fair, and set my mind on a new tangent. My son now has a lovely Christian girl friend,and it was thanks to your blogs about forgiveness and Jesus never rejecting us that I had a God given talk with him, and I see a gorgeous old fashioned courting happening right under my roof. She is strong and stable, and equality is their watch-word.
        So thank you for being faithful and open to us all, your work is brining forth fruit indeed!🙏

        • Tim says:

          Thank you for your encouragement, Ruth. God is blessing me through your words, and I am glad that he has used mine to bless you and your family as well. It must be exciting to see what he is doing in your son’s life and to watch this relationship your son has with this young woman grow right in front of you.

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