Brave the host which has his hardness, an order with true angels’ acts:
though they were deaf, they had hearing; though they were lame, they had strength.
- Béccan mac Luigdech, Fo Réir Choluimb, Irish, 7th century
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
- 1 Corinthians 1.27-29
Foolish, weak, base, despised, nobodies. God chooses those in whom He can most radiate His glory. He takes the deaf and makes them hear, the lame and gives them strength, and the nobodies of the world and makes them somebodies in Jesus.
Béccan was celebrating the monks who gathered around Colum Cille in the late 6th century. The community of Iona was their home, and the staging-ground for mission after mission to the lost peoples of the British Isles.
In the world’s eyes, these peregrini – wandering missionary/monks – were nobodies. They had no wealth, no connections, no pedigrees – nothing. They were “deaf” to the wisdom of the day and weak – “lame” – in the eyes of those to whom they brought the Good News of the Kingdom.
They were nothing, nobodies; and they had nothing.
Nothing, that is, but an ear to the Word of God, and the strength of His Spirit to guide and empower them.
The first Irish peregrini who wandered about preaching the Good News of Jesus appeared to most who saw and heard them to be a motley crew. They had no possessions, no spiffy clothing or clever tales, and no pedigree to commend them to royal courts or ecclesiastical higher-ups. But they were God’s chosen vessels to carry on the work begun by Patrick, launching it beyond Ireland to distant lands.
God does not require that we fit the world’s conception of someone to be reckoned with; indeed, the less we fuss and worry about making ourselves appealing on the world’s terms, the greater is the likelihood we’ll have ears to hear the Lord and strength from beyond our own resources to serve Him.
You may regard yourself as not very clever or articulate, not well attached, and not able to do much; but if you can hear the Lord’s calling and instruction, and will surrender yourself to His power, He can use you in ways you’ve never dared to ask or think (Eph. 3.20). Those humble monks had courage and a firm conviction that they were on the side of the angels as they ventured out to make known the Good News of Jesus.
They knew their mission field and they worked it faithfully, often at great sacrifice.
In our day, the work of personal evangelism is languishing; few are the pastors who make it a central feature of their ministries to reach out to the lost in an aggressive, consistent manner; and few are the church members for whom bearing witness to Jesus is a daily calling.
My daily prayer is that we in The Ailbe Community will draw a line in the sand, seek daily revival in the Lord, claim the mantle of Colum and his disciples, and take up this noble calling once again. Let ours be the generation that reclaims the Great Commission as more than mere rhetoric, beginning in our own Personal Mission Field.
Each of us is called to identify and work our Personal Mission Field. We don’t have to go anywhere to do that – except where we go every day. We’ll need to gain a new perspective on our lives, and develop some new disciplines. You may not consider yourself to be much of an evangelist, but take heart: You don’t need to be! You just need to be ready and faithful when the opportunity comes to begin talking about Jesus. The Holy Spirit, Who dwells in you, has power to give you words and love, so that you can bear consistent and effective witness for Jesus.
We care called to be fools for Christ, yet we have the strength of Colum – the power of God’s Spirit – to live and proclaim the Gospel. Today is the day of salvation. We may regard ourselves as nobodies in the Kingdom, or ill-suited to the task of evangelism. But He has called us to it, the Spirit stands ready to accomplish it, and the world desperately needs the witness of Jesus from nobodies like us.
Nobodies of the world, let’s get busy!
Psalm 107.1-3 (Faithfulness: Great is Thy Faithfulness)
Lord, You are good, we give thanks and we praise You! Your steadfast love will forever endure.
Let the redeemed, who from trouble You rescue, gather and say that Your mercy is sure!
Lord, for Your wondrous works, and for Your steadfast love
We give You thanks, we exalt Your great Name!
We who from east and west, north and south gather,
Boldly redemption in Christ we proclaim!
Lord, a day is coming when we will stand before You to give an account for our deeds. Help us to be faithful as those You have sent to the world with Good News! Help me to be faithful today as I…
Brush up on your Gospel
Two little books can help you gain confidence and skill in doing the work of evangelism. The Gospel of the Kingdom (click here) outlines the Good News we have to share; and Joy to Your World! (click here) leads you step-by-step in beginning to work your Personal Mission Field. Get ‘em both; and read ‘em over and over, as you step out in faith, where the Spirit can use you in His power.
Thank the Lord with us!
The Lord provides for the needs of The Fellowship of Ailbe by moving on the hearts of those who benefit from our work and believe in our mission. If that includes you, please seek the Lord in prayer concerning this opportunity. It’s easy to give to The Fellowship of Ailbe, and all gifts are, of course, tax-deductible. You can click here to donate online through credit card or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
T. M. Moore, Principal
All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 Clancy and Márkus, p. 141.