Are We Shining or Showing?

KINDLY CORRECTIVES: Are We Shining or Showing?

"Which is the more important, holding a pastorate in a metropolitan area, or ministering in a small country town?"

President, China Training Institute

Which is the more important, holding a pastorate in a metropolitan area, or ministering in a small country town? We often hear such questions as, "How many members are there in the constituency of his district?" We hope that if God calls us to some responsibility, we shall be asked to do something big.

Our vision of ideals may be blurred perhaps by material things, and our conception of service is perchance distorted by the number of people around us. We want to shine for God; but, somehow, unfortunately, we too often de sire to display the model of our lamp. We want to emphasize our candlepower, but, "my brethren, these things ought not so to be." James3 :10

In the shaded vestry of an old church in Scot land all preachers who entered the pulpit were challenged to search their own hearts. Framed on the wall before them was the statement: "No man can witness to Christ and to himself at the same time. No man can give the impression that he himself is clever and that Christ is mighty to save."

If God has called us to serve in the wilder ness, then we should not seek to force our ministry upon the city. If the Lord points to Emporia, Kansas, then why do we wish we were broadcasting from Radio City, New York? If there is no opportunity to do a large work, make a great sacrifice, or fill a high position, let us be content to do faithfully the work where we are. The messenger of the Lord appeals to us in Christ's Object Lessons as follows:

"The smallest duty done in sincerity and self-forgetfulness, is more pleasing to God than the greatest work when marred with self-seeking. He looks to see how much of the spirit of Christ we cherish, and how much of the likeness of Christ our work reveals. He regards more the love and faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do." — Page 402

God considers not our office or position. He observes our willingness, fidelity, and surrender. He treasures the devotion of consecrated and conscientious ministry.

Fellow worker, lean heavily upon God in your sacred ministry, and be content with the fact that "the Lord has His eye upon every one of His people; He has His plans concerning each." — Testimonies, vol. 6, p. 12. Communion with Heaven has led to lowliness of heart. Meade MacGuire presents the thought beautifully in this verse:

"'Father, where shall I work today?'

And my love flowed warm and free. 

Then He pointed me out a tiny spot And said, 'Tend that for me.' 

I answered quickly, 'Oh, no, not that.

Why, no one would ever see 

No matter how well my work was done.

Not that little place for me.' 

And the word He spoke—it was not stern ;

He answered me tenderly, 

'Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.

Art thou working for them or Me? 

Nazareth was a little place,

And so was Galilee.' "

Regardless, then, of our place and position in God's program, shall we not accept the ad monition of Matthew 5:16: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven"?



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President, China Training Institute

September 1950

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