If Only Ten…

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
-Matthew 6:31-34

Do we have to be part of a mega-church to accomplish something really big or extraordinary for God? Consider this idea: If only ten people committed themselves to God’s very simple formula for life, it would get the world’s attention in a major way.

We might even be talking about just ten people as constituting the entire congregation, or only ten out of a larger group, but just ten. Okay, maybe eleven or twelve, as long as we’re not trying somehow to play “Ancient Bible Land.” We’re not the twelve Tribes or the twelve Apostles. Ten is about all it takes to make a huge difference.

Think of it: a small company of people who wake up every morning asking these three questions:

How can I make God and his kingdom number one today?
How can I live for others today?
What are my own needs and how can I expect God to meet them?

I mean what could happen if just a handful of people made a pact, a covenant, to ask these three questions together every day, and then really gave themselves to it with all their hearts? It would be the talk of the town. Not that being talked about is the intent behind it; it’s just that if we really did it, nothing could keep it quiet for long. Why? Because virtually no else is doing it, not even the big churches with all their multi-million dollar budgets, thousands of members, and endless resources.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all opposed to big or wealthy churches. There’s much good they could do. It’s just that I’ve seen so many of them, and how profoundly little most of them affect their communities and their real needs and problems. Yes, they might have million-dollar mission budgets and send teams to Africa, but the ratio of membership to actual local impact is negligible. Don’t just take my word for it, you can check into these facts on your own. Of course, small or medium sized churches can be just as ineffectual.

Anyway, here’s what I’m thinking: I know a wonderful woman in one of the churches I’ve served who has a great passion for homeless or needy animals. It’s what really makes her heart beat faster. And she puts herself into it everyday with great gusto. If she hears of an abused or abandoned dog or cat, she goes to work immediately trying to rescue it. In one case, she spent over $1000 of her own fixed income for the needed surgery of a dog belonging to total strangers in the community. It made the local papers because who would do such a thing?

Now take just ten Christians who agree together to be like this woman regarding the needs of others. In the beginning, they could start with some small project just to see how they can work together. Maybe it’s simply finding a loving home for a tiny abandoned kitten (not as easy as it sounds), cleaning up a local park, helping do a makeover of someone’s yard or home—any short term, realistic ad hoc project that has a definite beginning and end.

Then, when the group has a few successes under its belt, it could increase the difficulty. Help raise money in the community for a needed surgery, or take on a needy family who’s been devastated by the economy. The husband needs a job, the wife needs some help with the baby, the children could use some tutoring, and so forth.

Later, when the family’s back on their feet and the group has developed some confidence in their ability to make a difference, perhaps they could adopt a prisoner who’s still serving out a term, or take on a recent young parolee from prison. He or she needs some guidance, some parenting, work skills, people skills, encouragement, spiritual input, and all the rest.

Your group could help someone lost in society redirect their life. Or it could even get involved in the ever-growing problem of human trafficking. You can’t see it, but it’s happening—everywhere. Twelve-year old boys and girls are being used as sexual toys! Imagine: ten people dedicated to the rescue of human lives.

There are literally thousands of such God-honoring projects that could be done. We’re limited only by our imaginations. And getting ten people to commit to such things is far easier than getting a hundred or a thousand. All it takes is a handful of genuine believers committed to obeying God’s will. This is what we’re supposed to be doing anyway because this is what real Christianity is.

This could be done as a new model for Bible study groups belonging to a larger church, or could be simply a new church of ten meeting in a home. They would study the Scriptures together, worship together, pray together, and from this spiritual base a truly God-led mission could emerge naturally from it.

Part of the adventure is in discovering the faith projects God has already thought through and prepared for us. He’s planned the good works we should be doing as a regular way of life even before we ever arrived on the scene (Eph. 2:10).

When God and others (including family) are put first, you’ll be surprised to see how often God seems to be taking care of your own personal issues even without our spending full-time thinking about them.

Remember: God first, family/neighbor next, then self. All are important, but that’s the right order of things. The end result of this biblical mandate for life is great joy and an enormous sense of purpose. Today is a good day to begin.

Questions to think about:
1) What keeps your church from forming such a group?
2) What kinds of projects immediately come to your mind?
3) How soon can you get started?


Photo by Rocky A via Flickr

John I. Snyder