Have you ever been in a situation where you kept asking yourself, “Why am I here?” I have. Often. In fact, many times during this last season of life. The elephant in the room of my life recently has been, “God, this is not what I am called to do. My heart is to be ministering and teaching Your word, not being in the marketplace.” The struggle has been real. Until the day a co-worker asked for counseling. Then came that still small voice.
“It’s all for one.”
All for one! It is a simple concept we all know. My boys learned it early from watching The Three Musketeers. And we teach about it in the church. We remind each other that wherever we are in life, we are to look for that ‘one’ He might be wanting us to reach out to and help. Yet, the struggle to see it often is difficult when we seem to hit a wall day after day and our hearts are longing for something else. But we have the greatest example of Someone who left everything He had done since time began and reached out to the one human race. And He would have done it for even just one individual. John 4 tells of a time Christ visited a town just for one woman.
History tells of a people group called ‘Samaritans’. They were a ‘mixed breed’ of people that were a result of Babylon conquering Judah. The king of Assyria took most of the people back to the Babylonian Empire. Those who were left behind intermarried with non-Jewish people that migrated into the region. In time, this interracial group became known as Samaritans. They had their own way of life and worship. By the time of Jesus, most Jews despised the Samaritans even more than they did the Gentiles. Why? Partly because they were seen as ‘half-breeds’ in both their culture and faith.
If one was to travel from Jerusalem to Galilee, the shortest route was through Samaria. Yet many Jews of that day avoided Samaria and took a longer route. Their reasoning was to not be in contact with those who they considered no better than a dog.
But not Jesus! John 4:4 says He NEEDED to go through Samaria. Why? For one. One woman. One testimony. One domino effect on a city. Several aspects of this story stands out. His actions did not fit that which society deemed proper for a godly rabbi. It was about noon and the women usually went tin groups to draw water earlier in the morning. But He knew there was one woman who was perhaps rejected by others and would go to the well alone later in the day. So He sat and waited for her. Rabbi’s did not speak to women in public. Neither did the men ask to drink from a woman’s cup. But Christ spoke to her and asked for a drink. Why did He do all of this? He was goal oriented on reaching that one! The result: she ran into town and brought others back to hear what this Teacher had to say. The domino effect.
As He started reminding me of the ‘all for one’ mentality, I started looking back on the last ten years of my life. Our family and ministry has gone through many unexpected twists and turns. They have not always been fun or easy. And I have heard myself so often cry out, “God, really?! Why are we here?!” Yet looking back, I see the ‘ones’ that are now walking in freedom, called to minister, healed, redeemed, and much more.
Why move us to Missouri? For the young adult who was starting down a wrong path but is now preaching the Word to young people. The young woman who visited on a Sunday, accepted Christ, and was killed in a car accident the following week. The worship leader who was set free from generational curses and is operating now in spiritual gifts she had never known before. The high school students from broken homes that showed up at our dinner table weekly and experienced a functional family unit.
And each of these are now having a domino effect in their world.
Why the move back to Louisiana? To be at my mom’s side the last few months of her life. To see young adults walk away from a life of drugs and are now preaching. For those who left promiscuous lifestyles and now teach faith and purity to others. And for the one who rescued from suicide that now travels the world sharing the gospel.
Our society often judges a person’s success in ministry the way the world sees success in business. For instance, if you have a large congregation or a large ministry, you must be more anointed and successful than that one who has a small group or is in a small community. Yet the realization I have come experience is that Jesus, in His great love for even ‘the one’, will allow the paths of our lives to take unexpected turns for that ‘one’. Christ is more interested in us allowing our lives to be turned upside down for just one then He is in how success we appear to be in the eyes of other. That one may even have a domino effect and in time represent masses of people scattered from location to location. Are we willing to follow an ever turning path? Can we see the bigger picture?
Recently, while honoring the life of Billy Graham, we have seen clips of the thousands of people who attended his crusades. But how many of us remember the name of the minister who’s message changed Billy’s life? That man’s ministry had a domino effect to millions. Those of us on earth may not know his name, but our Heavenly Father does. And He counts the domino effect for eternity.
What about you? Who is the one in your life that He placed for you to reach? Are you willing to have your entire life unexpectnantly turned upside down, your ministry put on a shelf for a while, as you are sent to the marketplace and your dreams seems to be lost without hope of returning, all for reaching one? Are you looking to be a Billy Graham, or are you willing to have your life take unexpected turns to reach the Billy Graham’s around you?
To paraphrase a verse from scripture, I challenge each of us today: Test Him. See that there is no greater love, or joy, than to lay your life, your dreams, your hopes, your home down for reaching even one person today! (My version of John 15:13) There may be pain and disappointment at times along the way, but one day you will see the results domino in your life!
“By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” 1 John 3:16