No man is an island. We have all heard those words, but do we really understand how true they are? The first time this was illustrated to me was when I was a young mother, with four little boys to take care of. We lived in a remote area where I did not see other people very often. I was very busy training my little boys to love God, and with building our dream home. I was not doing anything “important” or exciting in my estimation. I was not out giving bible studies, or doing important church work. But one day I got a phone call from a distant neighbor. She told me what an inspiration I was to her and how it made her want to be a better Christian. I was shocked, and very humbled. God was using me to speak to this lady’s heart when I thought that nobody was watching.
Another illustration of this happened when we first moved to Thailand. We went to the village that Travis is currently working at for the school graduation. It was a “Christian” school, but on Sabbath evening, they had a rock concert at the school to celebrate the graduation. We were asked to sing for it. We agreed. Try to imagine this scene….loud speakers, electric guitars, alcohol doing its work….we got up front and sang “Nearer, Still Nearer” to a shocked and somewhat embarrassed group. We then left the scene of revelry and never thought about that incident again. Fast forward six years….Travis is now the director of that same school. One day he was telling me about a gentleman in that village. I was trying to remember which man it was that he was talking about. He told me that he was the man that played the electric guitar at the rock concert. Oh, I did remember him vaguely. Travis then told me that he now preaches the sermons when Travis is gone. I was shocked! How could this be? Travis told me that the song that we sang at the Rock concert changed this mans life. He gave his heart to Jesus, and his life changed completely. We never even spoke to this man. No bible studies, no sermons, just a song that was sung for the glory of God at a rock concert.
Yesterday, a young man from another village came to visit us. He is studying English at a university here in Thailand, and wanted to practice his English on us. We sat and talked for a few minutes, and then he said, “You are such a happy family!” He then went on to explain that he does not have a happy family. His mother died when he was quite young because a witch had cursed her. His father turned to alcohol to drown his sorrow, and there was no more joy in his family. Only a few minutes in a busy home, and he showed a hunger for what he was seeing.
One of the things he told us was that he had heard about our first outhouse hole long before he had met us. I told you while we were digging it about all the little delegations of people who were coming to see our famous hole. Well, that hole was being discussed in villages all over this part of Thailand. He told us that people were amazed at how diligent we were, and what a good job we were doing. It was just a hole! A simple task that had to be done! It was not meant to be a bible study or an object lesson, and yet it was.
Again this was illustrated when our student came back and told us that he wanted to be a missionary after observing our family. He could not even understand our words, but he saw a difference in the way we live.
I am not saying that we are in any way a perfect example, to the contrary, we make a lot of mistakes every single day, and are far from where God would have us to be. But, we try with all our hearts to follow God and to please him in all that we do. When you are the only living example of Christianity in an area that is controlled by the powers of darkness, it is pretty easy for people to see the light, even if we are not very bright.
The lesson to me in all of this is that I believe that we do most of our preaching when we don’t know about it. When God tells us to do the little things “as unto the Lord” it is because He can use those little things to further His kingdom. When we are sifting sand, digging holes, laying block, working in our gardens, or when our little ones are just sharing their toys, we don’t really feel like we are doing mission work. But it seems that this is the very kind of mission work that the villagers can understand. Ellen White said that we would be surprised at the simple means that God will use to finish the work. Do you think it could mean simple things like these?
But I have to stop and ask you, what would have happened if we had sung a soft rock song for the concert? What if we spent our time doing worldly activities in our home, such as watching TV or movies, listening to worldly music, or discussing the latest fashions, or our jobs and making money? What if we did not train our children to love and honor God, and just let them run wild with the neighbor kids? Would people be able to see Jesus, or would they see another family that looked just like them? Can we honor God by getting as close to the world as we can get, or does God expect people who bear his name to actually be as close to Jesus as we can get?
What about you? Are you a missionary in your home? Your town? With your neighbors? What do people hear when passing your home; the world, or praise to God? Would your coworkers say that you are living for God, or are you just like them? It is not what we say, but what we do that makes a real difference in this world. Jesus is coming very soon, and we need to do ALL for the glory of God, so that those around us may see the light before it is too late.