I had a dream last night that I was playing the piano out in my field. The song was “Be Still My Soul” and before long, I could hear people singing along from a distance up the hill. Then someone called out, “Play Amazing Grace.” The only sheet music I had for it was a piano solo that wasn’t optimal for singing along. So I started picking it out on the black notes like the old African spirituals. I pounded it out, missing some notes, but the people kept coming and singing along.
After I finished playing I walked up the hill and a group of people had gathered in my sister’s driveway. I counted about 30. Then I realized I should teach them something, so I went back for my scriptures which I assumed were in my backpack. When I returned there was a minister from another faith there. It seemed he knew some of the people.
I knew what I wanted to talk about … that verse that says that Christ will give us “abundantly above whatever we ask or seek.” I began thumbing through, trying to find the verse in a Bible I found lying on the table. But I couldn’t locate the verse. Then I decided to dig in my backpack for my more comprehensive set of scriptures with a topical guide. But my scripture cover was filled with a bunch of odds and ends.
I fumbled around, trying to find a Bible somewhere and knocked over a bottle of water. The more time it took, the more inept I felt. Did these people really want to hear anything I had to say? Why were they here?
By this time, the minister, independently was trying to look up the same verse in his Bible (I never said out loud what I was looking for). He was sort of scoffing at me for not being able to find a Bible verse. When I told him I was looking up the same verse, he didn’t believe me and insinuated I was copying him. I did feel rather foolish, but didn’t argue with him. When he tried to locate the verse, his Bible had a lock on that section of the Bible, and he couldn’t get to it either.
Something told me to just speak from the heart. So I stood before this little crowd of what had grown to about 40-50 people and paraphrased the scripture from memory:
Christ will give us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” I then began to talk to them about how the Lord had exceeded anything I would ask or think in bringing them to me. If I had marketed and promoted, I wouldn’t have brought this many local people to come sing songs and listen to a verse or two. Yet here they were and I couldn’t recall even inviting them. Even they weren’t sure exactly why they came.
I woke from the dream and began pondering on it. I asked what the music represented.
Was it literal music? Should I play the piano and people will come?
Was the music the music of my soul? Perhaps I should just be myself and people will come?
Is the music my message?
Is my message that you have a message?
Is my message “Come unto Christ?”
Really? No? That’s not my real message?
No. That is your mission!
My mission is to bring people to Christ. But my message is “you have a message.” When I thought of my closest colleagues I realized that they each have a different message. They are all teaching or sharing a unique principle, concept or system. But every last one of them, when I get them alone, tell me that they feel their mission is to bring people to Christ.
Deliver your message and God will bring people to you to fulfill your mission.
I think, as Christians, we often get a little confused with this. We realize we want to show people the love of God. We want to bring people to Christ. We want to help people know God’s heart, and we think we should be able to generate a living from that. I had someone email me within the last few weeks asking this very question, “I want to help people know God’s love. How can I earn a living from that?”
Honestly, I don’t think you’re supposed to earn a living from that. I believe you have a talent, a gift, or a story God has given you to share with the world. You are welcome to take money in exchange for providing a product or service around it. But you don’t sell your mission. God needs people to be reflections of His light and love in the world as they go about living their lives, pursuing careers and serving others.
Jesus said, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Peter and his friends fished with nets. Your message is your net. It is what draws people to you. They may purchase your product or service. And if they are really resonating with you, they will want to know more about you and what makes you tick — just like the people in my dream sat patiently waiting for me to speak to them.
They didn’t care that I couldn’t find the exact verse. They didn’t care that I knocked over a water bottle. They wanted to hear the message of my heart. They wanted to know what was important to me. It only took a minute or two and by the time I was done, they were already asking me when they could come back again. Could they come every first Sunday of the month?
What about that other minister who had the exact same verse to share? He had the same mission — to bring people to Christ. But they weren’t there to listen to him. They were there to listen to me. Why? Because they were the ones who resonated with my message. Other people will resonate with his. Each of us may have the very same mission, but the “net” we use as fishers of men will be unique to each of us.
This morning, when I looked up the verse I was trying to find, I realized just how profoundly the passage speaks of God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ and what I want people to know about them —
“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;
That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).
What about you? What’s your message?