Saturday, August 16, 2008

Plain and Simple

A plain gold ring adorns my left hand. It's a reminder of the vow that I made to a wonderful man, promising to be his forever. A reminder of who I am: his wife.

Sometimes an anniversary band joins that plain one on my finger. It's a stunning, jewel-studded ring that also reminds me of my vows, and my husband. It may be more expensive, and more beautiful, but it doesn't change my promise. It doesn't make me a better wife, or guarantee a perfect marriage.

That simple gold band means exactly the same thing as the diamond one. The diamonds just get more attention!

I have a ministry. Several, actually. We all do. Mine are in my home, my church, my workplace, to my family, friends, and coworkers. Small spheres of influence. Local impact. Seemingly minor, right?

Having a worldwide organization, a bestselling book, or a calendar full of speaking engagements will not make me a better Christian. Those may give me a bigger ministry, or lead to a different one. They would create much larger spheres of influence. But they wouldn't change the fact that my home, my church, and my workplace are mission fields, and are still included in that sphere. God will use me to teach my children about Him in the same way He could use a bestseller to teach strangers about Him.

Having a big ministry doesn't make you a better Christian, and you don't have to have one to make an impact on God's kingdom. It just means that you aren't getting as much worldly attention for it.

If you're getting rejected by publishers, it's OK. Write something that touches your best friend. If you teach a Bible study of 3 instead of 30, it's OK. Those 3 may need more attention than you could give in a larger class. God will use you wherever you are, no matter how many people you have the potential of reaching at that moment. But you must be willing to let Him!

Lysa Terkeurst, president of Proverbs 31 Ministries started out with a cut-and-paste newsletter from her home. She's now author of 11 books and leads a worldwide ministry.

She started small.

Beth Moore, beloved Women's Ministry teacher and founder of Living Proof Ministries, started with a small Bible study in her living room and watching children in the church nursery.

She also started small.

So, if you're feeling discouraged and wishing for "more," take heart in this: that plain gold band conveys the same message that the diamond one does. And an "unknown" Christian can share the love of Jesus just like a famous one can!


  1. SUCH truth.

    You have my thanks - plain and simple.


  2. Beautiful, Beth. You've said it well. As I ready myself to embark on another Bible study with the women of our church, I know that God has perfectly timed our topic.

    "Anonymous: Jesus' hidden years and yours" is an invitation to relish the hidden years of our lives. And while there has been a long season in my life of wanting to "do more" for Jesus, I am learning (truly I am) the value of my hidden season. There has been a fresh intimacy that I am sharing with Jesus that I wouldn't trade for the applause of men.

    At the end of the the end of this life...his approval over me is all that matters. Even as I type this...the temporal knows less light as the Eternal finds his stage.

    Thank you for your good thoughts to me. They confirm so much of what I'm experiencing right now.


  3. Thanks for these encouraging words. I also related to your post "Time for a Change."

  4. Thanks for reminding us that our ministries, however small or far-reaching they may be, are accomplishing important things as we seek and follow God's will for our lives. God bless as you follow His plan for you right now!

  5. Powerful post. How it has touched my heart tonight. Trying to embrace my little, and asking God to bless it.
    Thank you for these beautiful words of encouragement.
    All for Him,

  6. So true and I love the analogy of the plain gold band that means everything when it comes to marriage.

    In the past couple of years I've had a measure of success with being published and now traveling the country speaking at homeschool conferences. It's interesting but back in the days when I sat on the living room floor with Lysa TerKeurst and the founder of P31 Minsitries (the one who actually started the newsletter) and a group of other young moms I thought the height of spirituality would be to have a well known ministry. Now that I have the small success that I do I realize what a farce that belief was.

    I reach people through my ministry for moments out of their lives. The people around me are the real ministry. Raising my kids, teaching in my homeschool co-op, visiting a friend today who starts chemo this week, taking my elderly uncle to lunch. Those are the relationships that matter and the ones where I want to invest my time.

    Oddly, now that I'm doing what I dreamed of doing years ago my prayer is: Lord, give me more time with you. Lord, I want more time with my family. I want to really be there for friends in need. I want to enjoy my relatives before they're gone. Lord, don't make me so successful that I don't have time, desire, or strength for what really matters.

    Thanks for the beautiful reminder of what's important.


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