Contentment is related to ambition, but in an odd way. I can come up with all sorts of fantastic plans, but miss actual opportunities. For me, this is about lack of confidence or other resources, but for the ambitious, it can be because they filter the opportunities by their lofty ideals. That is, they cannot build a palace so they shiver in the cold, not building even a lean-to. Some ambition is not content to do a little and therefore winds up doing nothing.
When it comes to telling others about Jesus, many Christians want the conversation to end with the sinner’s prayer and a conversion. Not content to do their small part to help someone along on their spiritual journey, they will not offer that small piece of the path. Instead, they say nothing.
I’ve been there. These verses are a rebuke and an example…
One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter). (John 1:40–42)
Andrew was an ordinary man with average capacity, and ordinary faith, yet he became a useful minister as he introduced a future leader to the Messiah. This means I have no excuse when I say that my talents and abilities are insufficient to be an evangelist. Charles Spurgeon says, “If you are only like a firefly’s lamp, do not hide your light, for there is an eye predestined to see by your light, a heart ordained to find comfort by your faint gleam.”
If Jesus Himself told me to tell a clerk in a store or a child at the playground that God loves them, I cannot make excuses, not about my lack of skill or about the insignificance of the ordinary people that I meet.
Not only that, if He says to converse, then there is a reason for it. That clerk or child or whoever it might be, are souls for whom He died. Time is rushing and people are perishing. The world is growing old in sin.
Andrew didn’t say much to Simon who became Peter, but those few words and simple action took this ordinary fisherman to Jesus who spoke words that changed his life, making a great Christian leader of him. How can I determine what will happen with what I say or do? How can I know whether God is using a simple smile or a few words to draw someone to Himself?
Another lesson in these verses is that I am to bring people to Jesus — not to church or Christian concerts or whatever else I think might interest them, but to the one who alone can say, “Your many sins are forgiven. Go in peace.”
God forbid that lack of contentment or the wrong kind of ambition keep me from doing my part in what I might think are the small things.