2 Timothy 4:13 (NLT)
13 When you come, be sure to bring the coat I left with Carpus at Troas. Also bring my books, and especially my papers.
I want to tell you about something that I must do to survive, both professionally and personally. I have to read.
Swindoll, Charles R. (2011-08-01). Meet Me in the Library: Readings from Eight Writers Who Shaped My Life (Kindle Locations 1264-1265). IFL Publishing House. Kindle Edition.
NO LITTLE PEOPLE
Reading is so important. What we read is equally important as well. It does not only bring a steady stream of information but also inspiration.
Nelson Mandela, in the movie Invictus [which was played by Morgan Freeman], was relating an incident in his life about inspiration. He said that inspiration comes to us at times by using the work of others. In his case it was the work of a Victorian poet. It was something that kept him moving when he felt that he was at the end of his rope.
It was also the same with Paul. Paul was in a Mamertine dungeon, in Rome no doubt. It was cold. It was dark. It was damp. He was lonely. He was facing sure death. But look at what he wrote to Timothy: “When you come, bring the cloak, bring the cloak which I left at Troas, and the books, especially the parchments” (2 Timothy 4: 13). He said, “Bring the books.” There he was, dying in a dungeon, and he said, “I miss my books. Bring along the books.”
May you find the work of Francis Schaeffer to be the same. Let me share you his work.
No little people
THE ROD OF MOSES
As a Christian considers the possibility of being the Christian glorified, often the reaction is, “I am so limited. Surely it does not matter much whether I am walking as a creature glorified or not.” Or to put it in another way, “It is wonderful to be a Christian, but I am such a small person, so limited in talents—or energy or psychological strength or knowledge—that what I do is really important.”
The Bible, however, has quite a different emphasis: with God there is no little people.
One thing that has encouraged me, as I have wrestled with such a question in my own life, is the way God used Moses’ rod, a stick of wood. Many years ago, when I was a young pastor just out of the seminary, this study of the use of Moses’ rod, which I called, “God so Used a Stick of Wood,” was a crucial factor in giving me the courage to press on.
The story of Moses’ rod began when God spoke to Moses from the burning bush, telling him to go and challenge Egypt, the greatest power of his day. Moses reacted:
Exodus 3:11 (NIV)
11 But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?”
…and he raised several specific objections:
Exodus 4:1-2 (NIV)
1 Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘The LORD did not appear to you’?”
2 Then the LORD said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied.
God directed Moses’ attention to the simplest thing imaginable—the staff in his own hand, the shepherd’s rod, a stick of wood somewhere between three to six feet long.
Shepherds are notorious for hanging onto their staves as long as they can just as some enjoy keeping walking sticks. Moses probably carried this same staff for years. Since he had been a shepherd in the wilderness for 40 years, it is entirely possible that this wood had been dead that long. Just a stick of wood—but when Moses obeyed God’s command to toss it to the ground, it became a serpent, and Moses himself fled from it. God next ordered him to take it by the tail and when he did so, it became a rod again. Then God told him to go and confront the power of Egypt and meet pharaoh face to face with this rod in his hands.
Exodus 4:20 tells us the secret of all that followed: The rod of Moses became the Rod of God.
Standing in front of Pharaoh, Aaron cast down this rod and it became a serpent. As God spoke to Moses and as Aaron was the spokesman of Moses, so it would seem that Aaron used the rod of Moses which had become the rod of God. The wizards of Egypt, performing real magic through the power of the devil, match this. Here was demonic power. But the rod of God swallowed up the other rods. This was not merely the victory of Moses’ power over Pharaoh but of Moses’ God over Pharaoh’s god and the power of the devil behind that god. It became the rod of judgment against Egypt.
- With the rod of God, strike the rock and the water would come
- With the rod of God, part the waters of the sea
- With the rod of God, the armies of Egypt were struck dead
- With the rod of God, God’s people was set free
It must be an amazing sight to stand before the great rock and to see a rod struck against it, and to watch torrents of life-giving water flow out to satisfy thousands upon thousands of people and their livestock. The giver of judgment became the giver of life. It was not magic. There was nothing in the rod itself. The rod of Moses had simply become the rod of God.
Consider the mighty ways in which God used a dead stick of wood. “God so used a stick of wood” can be a banner cry for each of us. Though we are limited and weak in talent, physical energy, and psychological strength, we are not less than a stick of wood. But as the rod of Moses became the rod of God, so that which is me must become the me of God. Then I can become useful in the hand of God. The Scripture emphasizes that much can come from little if the little is truly consecrated to God. There are no little people and no big people in the true spiritual sense, but only consecrated and unconsecrated people. The problem for each of us is applying the truth to ourselves: Is the me of Chris, the me of God?
BEING THE ROD OF GOD
The people who receive praise from the Lord Jesus will not in every case the people who hold leadership in this life. There will be many persons who were sticks of wood that stayed close to God and were quiet before him, and were used in power by him in a place which looks small to men.
Each Christian is to be a rod of God in the place of God for him. We must remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us, at each moment. Those who think of themselves as little people, in little places, if committed to Christ and living under his Lordship in the whole of his life, may, by God’s grace, change the flow of our generation. And as we get on a bit in our lives, knowing how weak we are, if we look back and see we have been somewhat used of God, then we should be the rod surprised by joy.