Tiny Actions Of Faithfulness That Changed The World

You have no idea the difference your "small," and "insignificant" faithful actions could have on the world.

Like a drop of water hitting a pond creates a large ripple. So sometimes our small faithful actions have huge impacts.

One of my favorite things about running church history podcasts is that I get to regularly learn stories that I had never heard before.

But I think my favorites are stories by regular, everyday people who don't always even get remembered.

Yet they change the world:

In the 1800s there was a nasty blizzard. A young man was on his way to church where his family already was, but he was not able to make it and had to duck into a nearby church.

The blizzard was pretty bad, and even the pastor of that church that the man ducked into didn't make it in. An older man got up and decided to preach a sermon. He did not have a week to prepare and hadn't studied. He just gave an impassioned plea from his heart.

And in that snowy service, the young man Charles Spurgeon came to Christ. He did not know the church or even the name of the elderly man, but that man's faithful actions brought him to the Lord.

Two hundred years before that the famous theologian John Owen came to Christ in a very similar way. He was going to hear a famous celebrity pastor. But for some reason, the famous celebrity was not going to be able to make it, so a man offered to preach so that they could still hear a sermon.

Owen regrets that he never got that man's name, but his sermon brought him to Christ. Yet another faithful steward of the Lord, stepping up and doing what needed to be done without probably any awareness of how they had forever changed the course of history.

Another great example is John Newton. Although we may today know John Newton as the famous pastor who wrote "Amazing Grace" and who helped end the slave trade, he wasn't always that. For a long time he was just a faithful pastor. And he had a young man in his teen years in his congregation.

And Newton had no clue that the young man would grow up to be William Wilberforce. At the time he was just a young teenager, listening to the sermons his parents dragged him to. In his 20s he went off and started the career of becoming a politician but he became convicted of his need for the Gospel. And he returned to Newton for discipleship and for the idea of pushing Britain towards ending slavery.

These two had no idea that what they started would end the slave trade around the world. They just started where they were.

Even Amazing Grace, Newton had no idea what power it would have. He had a different name for it at the time he wrote it (Faith's Review and Expectation).

He wrote it to pair with a sermon on 1 Chronicles 17. The day he released it to his congregation, he wrote in his journal that he released the song that he "felt nothing" afterwards.

He faithfully released the most famous hymn in the world today, and he didn't have a clue what he had done.

Just faithful actions that have a tremendous echo into eternity.

Hudson Taylor became one of history's most famous missionaries. But his story did not start with him. It started with his parents, who had prayed desperately that God would give them a child who went to missions in China. Same with John G Paton, who also had parents that begged God that one of theirs would become a missionary someday.

Remember, in the 1800s sending a child to missions meant never seeing them again. No face time. Likely they may die of a horrible disease. But faithful parents, asking God to give them a child they could turn back over to His service. And God answered their prayers.

Monica followed Augustine around the Roman Empire. She prayed endlessly for her lost, heathen son to come to Christ. She had no idea that he would revolutionize theology forever. She knew nothing of his future writing of Confessions or City of God.

She saw only a lost son who needed Jesus and prayed as a devoted mother that he'd be saved.

C. I. Scofield had hit rock-bottom. He'd been a Confederate. He'd run away from the civil war. He'd lost his wife due to drinking the fortune away. And now he was staring down a bankruptcy while sitting in his office. Everything was crashing down on him.

A lawyer acquaintance had dropped by to see how he was doing. He could tell Scofield was at the end of his rope. He was getting ready to leave the sad situation of Scofield when he felt a sudden urge to stop. He turned back to Scofield and said, "I want to ask you why you are not a Christian?"

That conversation led Scofield to Christ. A man who barely knew Scofield but who faithfully answered the call to ask a tough question of a man hanging at the end of a rope.

Spurgeon was a young pastor who had exploded into his ministry position. He heard about a new revivalist and decided to give him a chance to lead some services. That man, not as far along as Spurgeon, was DL Moody. Spurgeon's willingness to partner with him changed history.

Over and over, throughout Church History, we see big and dramatic moments like Martin Luther standing up to the Catholic church. These moments are amazing.

But behind those big moments are often many little faithful moments like we just read about. Where God is working through faithful actions of lesser known Saints. God's providence is seen in those mighty actions of God's people.

Yet He is also working through these amazing stories of smaller actions, too.

I think they encourage me a lot. Maybe you feel like your work does not matter. You know you're not going to be the next Charles Spurgeon or Jonathan Edwards or John Wesley.

But just think! You have no idea if something you are doing or saying today won't change the course of history. Some small faithful devotional, sermon, or conversation with an acquaintance might not truly reshape the world we know today.

Your faithful actions, used by a perfect and awesome God, can be used by Him to change the world, too.