Little is Much (4)
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night. A man of Macedonia stood and pleaded with him, saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” Acts 16.9
Mission to Asia
As the fleet approached the Asian coast, the king suddenly stripped off his clothes, leapt from the bow of the lead ship, and began to run around the ruins of the ancient city of Troy.
While his astonished troops looked on, Alexander of Macedon appeared suddenly at the grave of Achilles, where priests were waiting. The king threw himself face down on the grave, whereupon the priests rushed forward and poured sacred oil over his body, as the Greek army looked on in stunned silence.
Suddenly, Alexander raised himself from the grave of the greatest of Greece’s ancient heroes, and presented himself as Achilles Redivivus, the warrior king who would avenge Greece on its enemies. His 50,000 troops erupted in a frenzied roar of approval.
After several initial victories, Alexander disappeared into the Egyptian desert. When he returned, it was in the company of Egyptian priests and the garb of the sun god. He had shape-shifted his identity to gain new allies and prepare for the conquest of Persia and the invasion of India.
Over the next 11 years, this “resurrected son of the gods” would conquer most of the known world, from Egypt to India, spreading the Greek language and culture from Italy to the Levant to southern Russia and modern Pakistan.
But Alexander the Great, for all his show, pretense, and power, was a mere mortal. He died from a wound before his dream of world conquest could be realized. His empire was divided and ultimately dissolved into the pages of history, leaving scarcely a trace of its greatness.
Almost 400 years after Alexander crossed the Bosporus into Asia, another “army” would cross from Asia to Macedonia. And the world is still resounding with the impact of that smaller, albeit greater mission.
Mission to Greece
We don’t know how many people accompanied Paul, Silas, and Luke as they made their way from Troy to Greece, but it was considerably fewer than the 50,000 Greeks and Macedonians who crossed with Alexander.
However, they were on a mission from, and were accompanied by the true Son of God, resurrected from the dead and living in each of them by His Spirit.
No pikes, chariots, spears, swords, or siege machinery was in their arsenal. The only weapon they brought with them was the Sword of the Spirit and the Word of the Gospel.
They didn’t land at a hero’s grave, but smack in the midst of a prayer meeting of some obscure women. They didn’t encounter massed resistance which had to be defeated in pitched battles. Instead, they ended up in jail for silencing a little demon-possessed girl and thus drying up an income stream for some heartless entrepreneurs.
And, unlike Alexander’s mission to Asia, Paul’s mission to Macedonia and beyond has changed the world and is still changing it nearly 2,000 years later.
Little is much when God is in it.
Mission to your world
As believers in Jesus Christ, we are people on a mission. Your mission may seem small and not all that significant to you. Imagine how Paul’s mission to Macedonia appeared to those magistrates who beat him and Silas and threw them into the local dungeon.
No dungeon could hold Paul and Silas. Not even the counsels and stratagems and powers of hell can stop you from bearing powerful lived and spoken witness for Jesus Christ. Your world may seem like a formidable place. But the world is only the Lord’s field, where He is sowing, cultivating, and harvesting a mighty ingathering of souls for righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit.
And He is doing this through people like you and me. Your Personal Mission Field awaits you every day. Go into it determined to be Christ’s witness, and make disciples by every means and in every season. The work won’t always be fun and games – ask Paul and Silas. God threw an earthquake at the city of Philippi to help in furthering their mission. You probably won’t need an earthquake, but He has angels standing ready to clear the path for you, and His Word and Spirit poised to open doors of opportunity wider than those of that Philippian jail.
The world remembers Alexander the Great as a tragic oddity. He knocked a few people around for a few years, then he died, and the world went back to business as usual.
The world can never forget the apostle Paul, because by faithfully discharging his little mission to Greece, he set the stage for the progress of Christ’s Kingdom – progress that has not abated for 2,000 years.
And you and I are the Kingdom-seekers. We are the joy-bringers. We are the Good News bearers. And when we are faithful in every little opportunity, every moment of every day, God can do much that will change our world for His glory and the blessing of all to whom He sends us.
1. Do you think of yourself as on a mission for the Lord? How does that affect your daily planning and preparation?
2. Meditate on Matthew 5.13-16 and 1 Peter 3.15. How do these apply to your daily life?
3. What is the greatest obstacle to your being more consistent in your mission for the Lord? How can you overcome that obstacle?
Next steps – Preparation: Pray about and plan for your day as though it were part of Paul’s mission. What difference does that make as you go forward?
T. M. Moore
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This week’s study is part 3of a 3-part series, The Small Stuff. Each part consists of seven lessons and is available as a free PDF download at the end of the study. In the tag for part 7, we’ll give you a link to download part 3, “Little is Much.” Why not line up some friends to study through all three parts of this series?
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission.