By Peter Chow
As I go through different seasons of life, God often speaks to me by emphasizing certain themes as I spend time in His Word during my Time with Abba (TWA) each morning. In the past, God would teach me various topics such as the fear of God, prosperity, etc. for months at a time. Recently, these verses really stood out to me and it’s from Exodus 23:29-30:
29 But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. 30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
During all these years of doing TWA, I don’t ever remember coming across these 2 verses as anything different or special until this year – which is another awesome lesson about how God is always teaching us something new. The words that stood out are: “Little by little”….and for the past week, this theme is not only being emphasized as I read His Word but also through sermons and as I go through my mundane tasks each day. God is teaching me regarding “little by little” through the following different areas….
Personal Evangelism – When C&MA missionaries Don and Rachel Kramer from Taiwan came to speak a few weeks ago, they spoke about how they’ve spent the last 10 years in one area doing personal evangelism. They said that the church is built through one Christian at a time. At first, it was hard to imagine how someone can spend 10 years in one place without a grand agenda until you hear about the fruits of their labor and how it was done mostly through building personal relationships and living out their lives by showing Christ’s love to everyone they meet. It’s also an encouragement for me that I can do the same here in the Silicon Valley. And that the little things I do and the relationships I build today can have an eternal impact in the future.
Next Generation – As I’ve been helping out in our Children’s Ministry for the past 4 years, oftentimes I wonder if I’m really making any impact to the kids I see each week. Do they even remember my name? Even as a parent myself, am I teaching my kids the right things and am I leading them in the right direction? Are they listening to my advice? Why am I not seeing any change in behavior even after many pleas of prayer? Then God reminded me that I cannot change them overnight. It’s a process that takes time and that I just need to faithfully do the little things. Along the way, God will return some simple encouragements back to me….like having a current student saying “Hi” to me when we see each other in the courtyard. Or when one of my former students comes up and tells me he misses me because I’m not teaching in his class this school year.
Wholeness and Fruitfulness – Not only is the next generation being transformed each day, we adults are also being made whole and fruitful “little by little.” When Pastor Douglas spoke about this topic and brought up the story of the bleeding woman, I realized that even though her physical healing was immediate right after she touched the cloak of Jesus, the whole process started much earlier. What if she never heard about Jesus or was interested to learn more about Him? Because of her condition, what if she was too embarrassed to go out to where the crowd was? What if she wasn’t bold enough to get close enough to where Jesus was? If these little steps did not take place along the way, her immediate healing would not have taken place.
In our culture of instant coffee, instant noodles, and instant millionaires, we get easily discouraged when our prayers are not answered immediately. We get discouraged when not everyone decides to follow Jesus the first time they hear about the Gospel. We get discouraged when behaviors are not being changed because of our sinful nature. Why is nothing happening? Why is God not answering my prayers? Then God is teaching me that in fact they are being answered – just “little by little…”