Posted by: rcottrill | December 3, 2012

Little Is Much When God Is in It

Words: Kittie Louise Jennett Suffield (b. Sept. 16, 1884; d. Oct. 2, 1972)
Music: Kittie Louise Jennett Suffield

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: In the Wordwise Hymns link, there are some interesting stories regarding this 1924 song, and the life and ministry of Mr. and Mrs. Suffield.

In the Word of God, it isn’t difficult to find illustrations and examples of the little-is-much principle. It’s a reminder that when God is with us, and we are in His will, small and even insignificant resources can accomplish great things. And, of course, the Lord delights to use such things to accomplish His purpose. The weaker we are, the greater the glory that will redound to Him. For example:

¤ Moses’ rod, used when he was tending sheep, later wielded at the command of the Lord accomplished the deliverance of Israel, and the provision of water in the wilderness (Exod. 4:2; 14:15-16; 17:6).

¤ Gideon’s force of three hundred men defeated a huge army of 135,000 Midianites (Jud. 7:19–8:10).

¤ One stone shot from David’s sling defeated a seemingly invincible giant, and caused the whole army of the Philistines to flee (I Sam. 17:49-51).

¤ In the book of Esther, in the providence of God, a beauty contest and a king’s insomnia were used to preserve the people of Israel (Est. 2:3-4; 6:1-10).

¤ In the hands of Jesus, one boy’s lunch fed 5,000 men, plus women and children (Mk. 6:32-44).

In each case, these examples represent common everyday things, which the intervention of God turned into something extraordinary. That is the thrust of Kittie Suffield’s gospel song. That the Lord takes ordinary people, and the resources they have–though weak and inadequate in human assessment, and works in and through them, for His glory and the greater good of all.

The natural corollary of that–the other side of the coin– is that there is “a work for all to do” in God’s harvest field (CH-1). No one can say they’re useless to the Lord. And Mrs. Suffield addresses the problem of living in a small, out-of-the-way location. In Canada, 6.5 million people (19% of the population) live in small rural communities. But the people there still need the Lord!

CH-3) Does the place you’re called to labour
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.

Little is much when God is in it!
Labour not for wealth or fame.
There’s a crown—and you can win it,
If you go in Jesus’ name.

Another group that worries about not being able to serve the Lord is the elderly, and those who are shut-in and less mobile than perhaps they used to be. Being out and about is difficult, if not impossible for them. Teaching a Sunday School class, or singing a solo in church is beyond them. But what about the ministry of prayer? How much those on the front lines of ministry need the support of faithful prayer warriors. That is a great service for God.

CH-4) Are you laid aside from service,
Body worn from toil and care?
You can still be in the battle,
In the sacred place of prayer.

There is a great day coming when the Lord Jesus will call the saints into His presence, and reward them for faithful service. How wonderful, in that day, to hear His “well done” Perhaps, in that day, some work that has received public attention and acclaim will not receive as great a reward as a more obscure service, faithfully performed.

I can recall being with a friend one time, when an older gentleman walked by–one I knew slightly. My friend said, “There goes one of the princes of the earth.” Why? What had he done? He had lovingly cared for his sick and disabled wife over many years, and sacrificed greatly to fill their home with the love of Jesus. That was news to me! I hadn’t heard about it. But God knew, and will honour him for it at Christ’s return.

CH-5) When the conflict here is ended
And our race on earth is run,
He will say, if we are faithful,
“Welcome home, My child; well done!”

Questions:
1) Can you think of common or simple things in your own life that could be used for the Lord in some special way?

2) Are there men or women in your acquaintance who are serving the Lord faithfully in some way that is little known by most?

Links:
Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


Responses

  1. Good morning, Robert,

    This is a great hymn! I’ve led our congregation in singing it the past two Sundays (11/25/2012 and 12/02/2012) because it fit with the pastor’s messages.

    I think that that phenomenon of the “mega-church” makes the second verse so incredibly poignant. Pastors of small churches and missionaries in far-away places may feel that their labors are small and insignificant in the work of the kingdom. They may even feel ignored by much of the Western Church.

    But no place is insignificant if God has called you to minister there.

    And no ministry is worth much if God is not in it.

    God Bless You and Yours,

    Robert Woodman

    • I agree. During forty or so years of ministry I served for seven years in a large church. We had half a dozen pastors, a day school (250 children plus staff), and a day care centre (150 children plus staff). The place was always humming. But most of my pastoral work has been done in small rural churches.

      The trend in our day seems to be to focus mainly on the urban centres–and that is certainly where the most people are. But in Canada we still have 19% of our people in small country towns. That’s about six million people who need the Lord, or need to be taught or encouraged in their faith.

      I don’t know if you’re familiar with an agency called Village Missions, but their mandate is to supply (and subsidize) pastors for small rural communities that have no other evangelical church. Good on them!

      • Hi, Robert,

        I just saw your comment from the 3rd (been a very busy week!). Thanks for the link to Village Missions. I had never heard of them before, but I’m going to find a way to support them. That’s a needed ministry in so many ways and for so many reasons.

        Thanks and Have a Blessed Day,

        Robert Woodman

      • Busy weeks…h-m-m… I know about those–and, being an old geezer now, they’re a little more draining than when I was a few years younger. But we keeps on doin’ what we can. Glad my reference to Village Missions was of interest. They are an excellent organization. Pastors and Christian leaders I’ve talked to all give them high marks. A few weeks ago I showed their newest (8-minute) video, “A New Season of Hope” at the church. It tells how the Lord used one of their missionary coulples to impact a whole town. Absolutely wonderful! Anyway, God bless, and have a great Christmas.

  2. Thanks for the encouraging post! I feel that it was meant for me this morning as I had just returned from a lone rural outreach. I very rarely meet anyone who is interested (never mind a Christian) but today I feel the Lord’s encouragement.

    • Bless you! I’m so glad to be an encouragement. This song has done the same for me and our little congregation as well. Little is indeed much, when God is in it. But I have one further thought. Many times the effects of our service for Christ are unknown to us–may not even be known until we reach heaven. Take heart.

  3. http://hymntime.com/tch/htm/l/i/t/littmuch.htm

    Robert, Thought I’d let you know that your link goes to Psalm 404. Someone with Cyber Hymnal has a good sense of humor. ken

    • Thanks so much. I rely on my readers to catch some of these things. I think I’ve got it corrected now. God bless.


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