Our sermon this week may have been one of the most timely sermons God has ever had me sit under.
This week I attended Cross Conference with some other members of the church. The focus of the conference is missions. All Christians are called to be goers or senders in the great work of missions, to do neither is disobedience. God has a heart for the nations and desires that people from every tribe, language, people, and nation come to know Him. In His wisdom, He has determined He will spread this word through His people.
This was one of the most encouraging, refreshing, and yet challenging conferences that I have ever attended. I admit that I came to it thinking I was a sender, but I was a sender with a heart closed to going. For the bulk of the conference, God did a work in me to make me willing to go; to the point that I thought that was His will. A sender supports missions by giving, praying, building relationships with goers, and being willing to go.
I was also blown away by the great need of missions. There are 3 billion people in the world that are considered unreached: they do not know any Christians. This highlights the need to go and to send.
The work seems too big. 3 billion is a BIG number. How can this task be accomplished?
Now, here comes the sermon. Paul writes in Ephesians 3:20, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think.”
First, it is important to pause and notice that Paul wants us to fix our gaze on “him”, which in the context means the Father. What Paul wrote in 3:14-19 and what he writes in 20-21 is all about God. When we get to the next lines of the verse, it is not about what God might do through us but about God’s work.
If we are ever going to do anything for God we must be focused on Him and His glory. Therefore when we go to the Scriptures we “do not go to the Scriptures seeking an answer to [our] problem.” Rather we “go to them to encounter him.” This is our greatest need; He is our greatest need.
God the Father is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think. Whatever you have to ask God, He can do far more abundantly. I know my asking of God is too small because my faith is weak. My faith in God is weak, therefore it keeps me from asking big things of God.
Big does not mean extraordinary. God may do something like that in and through us, but God calls us to live in the very ordinary and mundane. God is able to do far more abundantly when we are working in spreadsheets, talking with clients, taking tests, changing diapers, raising children, and being a husband or wife. God works for His glory in the ordinary. This is good news because that is where you and I are 99.9% of the time.
“Are you asking God to do something through you that will outlive you?”
God can do more than we ask but also more than we can think. What is your wildest imagination? God can do more than that. Asking and thinking are connected. There are times when we are thinking of something and go to pray only to ask for less. We need to ask God. He is able to do far more abundantly than we could ask or think.
And now, back to the conference. How will 3 billion people be reached? By ordinary people doing ordinary things like working, raising their kids, and giving to missions. By ordinary people, who love to tell others about Jesus, going to places where He has not been named. And why does He do it through the ordinary? So that He will get the glory, and that we can experience the reality that He is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.
What big thing are you going to ask God to do in the ordinary of your life?