I'm not a "name it it and claim it", or "word of faith" sort of guy. I just love to be surprised when God shows up and does something we didn't expect, and I am forced to admit that many times when He does that, spectacularly, even in response to prayer, it's a bit of a surprise.
See .. the secret to this thing, to doing Kingdom work down here, lies not in what we do. It's what God does .. things that only He can do .. after we've done what we can do. We don't "bully" God into anything. That can't be done, but God is faithful to manifest Himself in the lives of His servants, sometimes doing things above and beyond what we expect. Or has even entered into our minds.
That's a pillow up there in the picture .. one that was made by Peg's sister Janet. She sent it to Peg for Christmas, and is the only Christmas present that I recall bringing tears to Peg's eyes.
The pillow itself shows a picture that I took, most likely in the summer of 1964, and it shows Peg and her whole family on the patio of our first home in Carmel, Indiana. It might have been my birthday, or perhaps a Memorial Day or the 4th of July, but that's about when it was. Left to right are Helen, Anna Belle, Mildred, Peg's Mom and (step) Dad Mary & George, then Peg and her youngest sister Janet. Anna Belle, Mildred and Peg are hers, and Helen & Janet are theirs (Peg's father having died shortly before she was born).
I took the picture so I could have the picture, but had a couple of unintentional consequences. I'm so glad that I kept all those old slides and that I scanned this one into the computer and shared it with the family!
Janet printed the picture onto cloth and sewed it into the pillow.
The first unanticipated result is that the snapshot sort of became the definitive picture of the family into which I married. I am unaware of any other picture showing all 7 of them together. So I am really, REALLY glad I took the picture.
The other unanticipated consequence is the pillow itself. Little did I know when I sent that to Janet, that one result would be a treasure for my bride.
NOW. Isn't God a lot like that? We do what we do in His name, (in His name, authority or character) and we can see, usually, something happen right then. A hungry person has a meal, a family has a little brighter Christmas, or someone who's discouraged feels a little better about themselves. But what we can't see is the unanticipated consequences which may follow.
What God may do with what we do in His name.
Unless you can think of some limitations on God .. which I can't .. then there's no end to what He can do. And if that pillow has meaning for families which will exceed the length of the Christmas season, how much more can the hand of God accomplish, following what we do for Him, through all eternity?
So listen up, Sunday School teachers, nursery workers, preachers, witnesses, prayer warriors, all those involved in advancing the Kingdom. Take heart. You're doing a lot more than you're doing.
Just like Janet did more than just sew a pillow.