Great preacher and teacher Fred Craddock once said that when he graduated from Bible College and was ordained into ministry it was like he was given a $10,000 check. His dream was to spend that check all in one place. He would lie awake at Church camp and dream of giving his life for Christ. Standing before the firing squad and being asked, “Do you deny Jesus?” “No.” “Then ready, aim, fire.” Flags would be put at half mast, news teams would report his story worldwide and they would build a monument in his honor.
The problem was, as he saw it, that no one ever asked for the $10,000 check. His life was not spent in newsworthy displays of service. Rather his life was spent a few cents at a time. 52 cents here and 89 cents there. He soon came to understand that a true life of serving was not about some big display rather it was doing a thousand little things.
Jesus said in Matthew 25 that the actions of his followers are giving food to the hungry. Offering a cup of cold water to the thirsty. It includes inviting strangers into our homes and visiting those who are sick or in prison.
Many Christians I know are still looking to spend there $10,000 check. They want to travel to some exotic mission field on the other side of the world. They want to serve in some dramatic way that gets media attention. They want ministry to fun and exciting. If serving does not seem like a big deal then they are not interested.
I understand there is a place for those things. But I tell people, “Don’t worry about traveling across the globe to do what you will not walk across the street to do.” Most ministry is not very glamorous. It is local and it seems small. Bringing the kingdom of God to earth usually means making a meal or offering a ride. Occasionally it means emptying the trash and cleaning up. Other times it is sitting quietly while people share their deepest emotions. Ministry is a thousand little things.
One day God may call on us to do something noteworthy, until then just keep spending your life a few cents at a time.