Give Me Ten Men
John Wesley once declared, "Give me ten men who hate nothing but sin and love nothing but God, and we'll change the world."
How could he be so bold? Perhaps even arrogant? With just 10 men you could change the world?
Or was Wesley, on the other hand, not talking so much about his ability to use these 10 men, but the incredible results of even small groups of people when they're completely committed to God's mission in the world?
I think it's the latter. When men and women love God above all else and hate nothing but the sin that trips us up, incredible things can happen.
To put it in the context of our current sermon series, John Wesley recognized the power not of becoming a hero, but being a hero maker. In fact, the whole idea of small groups was created by Wesley himself. Each meeting would begin with the question "How is it with your soul?" and each member - espcially including the leader! - was expected to be completely open and honest in their response. Everyone would share openly about their temptations, failures, sins, and personal battles.
I've tried that in my own Life Group to some surprise from other members. "Wait, you're telling us about your issues? Aren't you the pastor?"
To which I said something snarky like, "Yes, I am. And, yes, I am."
Wesley's small group experiences, where parishioners gathered not just in rows but in circles, led to America's first great awakening. They loved God. They hated sin. And yes, they became leaders who changed the world.
This wasn't the first time it happened: Check out Exodus 18, for instance. Moses is by himself, working tirelessly, having sent his family away to live with Jethro, his father-in-law. And Jethro is having none of it. Not only does he bring Moses' family back to him, Jethro becomes the first church consultant, telling Moses, "What you are doing is not good. You and these people who come to you will only wear yourselves out. The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone." (verses 17-18) So Moses appoints people who fear God, hate dishonest gain, and they changed the world (and Jethro had his house back to himself).
It happens with Jesus and the disciples, too. Check out Luke 9 and 10. First, Jesus sends out the twelve disciples, giving them "power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases... to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick." Just a chapter later, Jesus sends out 72 others (already not a bad ROI), saying, "The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves." I love that (except, maybe, for the wolves part): Jesus tells them to pray that God would send out workers. Then, he sends them out!
Hate nothing but sin. Love nothing but God. Change the world.
So, what about you?
Starting this Sunday, we are accepting nominations to serve as Elder or Deacon, as we invite all people into life in God's family. Would you pray about how God is calling you to serve the mission He's given us?
Incredible things could happen.