First Things @ First
The PR wing of the Marine Corp of the United States of America advertise for volunteers with the catch phrase--' The Few, The Proud, The Marines.' The rigors of becoming a marine in the U.S. military is difficult to say the least. Maybe that is why by comparison there are few who volunteer and fewer who make it. That level of training is necessary when you are often the first in and last out on a military campaign. Teamwork and training are essential for success.
The media surrounding serving as a marine today seems to be just the opposite of what armies throughout history have relied upon. Until recently, nations depended on large numbers to overcome their opponent. Today, the military is much smaller and leaner. Regardless of which branch of the military you choose, the few, by comparison are doing the work of what once required many. Numbers can present a false sense of security in the minds of people. The mindset that an organization must have the majority to be effective is not necessarily true in life nor in ministry.
In fact, when you look through the content of the word of God, you will always find that God preferred to work with the few, as opposed to the many. God always chose a remnant to do His best work. Example being, Gideon. Gideon started with thirty-two thousand as he faced an army that God described in Judges 7:12 as innumerable. The army of the Midianites and Amalekites were described as a swarm of locust. God saw that as well and yet through a series of tests, He effectively reduced that number down to three hundred. God did that. Most people I know wouldn't have. Gideon was outnumbered in the eyes of most because the enemy numbered thirty-two thousand. But in the eyes of God it was the other way around. May God help us never to forget that when we feel outnumbered! Truth is, when God is on your side, you are the majority because He is the mighty God.
Jesus began His church with twelve, not twelve hundred or twelve thousand. And one of those abandoned the work before the real work began. Eleven uneducated and devoted men changed the world because they were willing to submit themselves to the authority of their Commander-in-Chief. And soon, others were being added. Not most, but few who decided to follow in faith. God hasn't changed His plan today. That's still the way that God chooses to change the world. He does so through the few who are first penitent before God and willing to minister the gospel of grace under His command. It doesn't matter whether you are discussing missions abroad or ministry at home, the few who are willing to endure the rigors of training in discipleship are being prepared for what God has prepared them for. And along the way they are being used for His glory to accomplish a task that will always be against the grain of the majority on this earth. The mission will always be uphill and against the flow of the world system. And yet there are still a few who are volunteering for service. Thank God for their courage!
Because there is no room for pride in the service of the Lord, then I will acknowledge the service of these who are often first in and last out as 'The Few, The Penitent, The Ministers' of the gospel. For those of you that are currently enlisted in His mission, remember the words of Warren Wiersbe--'we fight from victory (victory in Jesus) not for victory.'
As a few more join the ranks of the redeemed in the trenches of serving our Commander-in-Chief in the next few weeks, may we continue to rely on the training manual of the word of God and be faithful to support those in the trenches beside us when the battles are engaged.
While it may seem that there are not many with you in the work, fulfill your assignment and let God depose every enemy you encounter as He helps you overcome the majority that stands against you and His cause. As we focus less on the numbers against us, we'll be more able to see the needs around us.
So, my fellow soldier/servant in Christ lift up your eyes and focus on the One who can't lose, and you'll experience more wins than losses in life!
Be encouraged in the work!