Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – June 2022
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
If I had to describe the times in which we live, I would need but one word—narcissistic. Perhaps it emanates from an endless array of selfies or the dream of becoming the next YouTube sensation or social media influencer. Going viral and reaching a million likes is the new obsession. But even if you could monetize your dog singing the national anthem or some computer-generated impossible basketball shot, how significant is it? At best, it is a shallow, superficial influence that is gone as quickly as it was viewed.
When Jesus came, He didn’t get on the circuit trying to make a name for Himself in order to change the world. Instead, He was often found withdrawing from the crowds to pour into the lives of twelve ordinary guys He called His disciples. Among them were men whose livelihood was catching fish, a tax collector, and a few misguided radicals. They were not highly regarded, and they would in no way add to Jesus’ fame and recognition. In fact, the opposite was true, as the apostle Paul expressed in his letter to an early church: God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Corinthians 1:27). But Jesus spent time with these ordinary men and built relationships with them, sharing and giving His very life to influence them. It wasn’t for “likes,” but for self-sacrificing “love.”
Jesus did not “add” many faithful, devoted followers beyond those twelve while He walked the earth—but after his death and resurrection, many completely loyal followers “multiplied” throughout the known world. Those He influenced, influenced and impacted others, and then those people influenced others in time—and so it continues to this day!
After visiting Haiti on a mission trip, a man named Brian longed to move to the third-world country in hopes of making a difference there. Many tried to discourage him, saying Haiti was where ministry dreams were shattered. Yet, about a decade ago, despite devastation from earthquakes, outbreaks of cholera, and the ever-present danger of being kidnapped for ransom, he decided to take a leap of faith and move there. His hope was to train up nationals from the impoverished villages to be pastors. A year after he arrived, when asked to report on his progress, he declared, “I got five guys!” And to the average person this sounded like a waste of time! But he spent three years with those five guys, following the example of Jesus in pouring out his life in service for their benefit. Paul also reminded the early church in Thessalonica, “…we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.” (1 Thessalonians 2:8) Those five guys Brian has so faithfully ministered to and influenced have now multiplied into ten healthy churches—one in every district—bringing solid Bible teaching and multiplying disciples in Haiti. His labor of love has been profitable in the saving of souls—something not shallow at all!
Unlike the one-dimensional self-promotion in a 30-second Tik-Tok video, true servanthood profoundly changes lives and increasingly multiplies into a more significant impact than can be imagined. The present culture war over abortion is an example of the same conflicting viewpoint. It is a waste of a life for a woman to put aside her dreams and aspirations of career and greatness to carry a child through an unwanted pregnancy many claim. Yet who knows if that one child may mean the future deliverance for millions, like a Moses, or thousands, like a Samson. God’s Word has true transforming power in the lives of those who hear and believe it. You have to realize the incredible value in one individual soul to understand the importance of investing in the one—versus marginalizing the one for the “greater good.”
This missing element in our temporal reasoning is due to an inflated sense of self-importance. The irony is that a person does not truly begin to live until they have something worth dying for. The impact of your life in a small town caring for, loving, and serving people you intersect with can far surpass the millions impressed by a few seconds of a viral video. Being committed to your marriage, family, and local community, sacrificially making other’s lives better around you in genuine relationships, transcends generations.
This Father’s Day, think of the importance of a father’s influence on his family. They are there to guide, provide, and protect. The family becomes a place of safety by the father’s presence, and within that structure, all other roles will thrive. In the community of relationships, we find our purpose—love is something meant to be given, not kept to oneself.
So, get yourself five guys (or gals) and really change the world!