Wednesday, February 20, 2008

God of small things

God of small things is the title of a book which won the booker prize award in 1997. Though I never read that book, the title really attracted me and the author is from the same place where I was born.

And now that Joel wrote another post called God in the ordinary, I am inspired to write some of my thoughts about the God of small things.

As a follower of churchianity, I have always thought I have to do big things for God. I remember, few months after becoming a Christian I started participating in the evangelical programs of the church. I went to university campus to reach out to the students with the message of gospel. I visited homes telling them about Jesus. I distributed ‘free chilled water’ in summer for the commuters, handing over tracts along with water bottles. When some people hesitated to accept the tracts I thought that was ‘persecution’ and felt so proud that I am being persecuted for Christ! I acted in bible dramas to reach out to unbelievers. I felt so good because I was doing all the big things. Sometimes I forgot my small family back at home waiting for me. I walked with big bibles and expositories in my hand and engaged in big theological discussions. ‘End times’ was one of my favorites. People considered me as a person who is ‘fired up’ for Jesus. I liked the attention I started to get. I did more to bring more attention. I was busy and acted busy as well around others. I enjoyed the praises of elders and pastors. I appeared happy and busy for God on Sundays. After all these, on Monday when I wake up I was dry and miserable like hell. I was impatient towards my wife. I wondered what Jesus meant by the 'spring of water welling up in us'. I had no joy. I used to cry out to God while driving to office, to bring joy in my life. I negotiated with Him about the big things I am doing. I reminded Him the things I did and demanded 'joy'.

I was focused on doing big things while forgetting the small things - resting in Him, enjoying His life, abiding in Him just like a branch, allowing Him to live His life, learning to be contented in all the circumstances.

He heard my prayer and I got His attention (or He got my attention?). He put me through a revolution, a grace revolution. His radical grace changed me radically, inside out. He revealed the truth of His gospel and gave me freedom. He taught me to read the Bible for what it means, not just what it says. I came out as a new person after that deep clean process. I started unlearning religion. Now that I know that I can enjoy all the small things in life because I have a big God. I can relax and snuggle into His lap because I have a God who is serious about me. I can simply focus on Him enjoy His love in all the small things here on earth because He did some big things for me. I can enjoy this small life here because He is preparing a big life there.

Today, I don’t want to be part of a big group to enjoy their small god. I don’t want to take up big projects for a God who said His yoke is easy and His burden is light. I don’t have to invent big ‘faith formulas’ to tap God to do what I want. I have a big God who said it is not the amount of faith that matters, even faith as small as a ‘mustard seed’ can do wonders. I don’t want to seek the attention of others by doing big things, because I already have the full attention of a big God. I have a God who asked to learn to be contented in all the circumstances no matter what.

My salvation is not bigger than my Savior. My faith is not bigger than the object of it. I am glad that today I am learning to be contented in small things, such as may be writing a small blog post to encourage few people, enjoying the beauty of His creation, watching a butterfly flying, looking at the sky, watching the starts, reading a story to my kids, watching TV with my wife, going for a walk with the entire family, calling a friend, purchasing grocery for the old lady lives next door, sharing the tomatoes grown in our backyard with the neighbors,....

We will not be 'known' for these kind of acts because they are not big. But thats okay. It is Jesus who will attract people to Him. He is pretty big, not me. He can do big things. He is a big God of small things. I am glad I found this God (or did He find me?), and I want to enjoy Him for the rest of my life here. No big plans. No big visions. No big anticipations. No big programs. I just want to be a small vessel in the hands of a big God and it is up to Him what He wants to do with it. May be its going to be big, may be small. In either way I am what I am by His grace.

13 comments:

Daelon said...

Absolutely sincere, honest and beautiful. Today I have been struggling with the fact that I have never done any of the big things you've talked about here. All I do is sit home, clean, watch tv with my mom, and hang out with neighbors from time to time.

The stress of it all! lol. As humans, we're stressed when we do and stressed when we don't.

bob said...

Hello Bino

Another awesome post brother.
I'm not sure but I think you should write a book. The way you write really speaks to me.

We also have a lot in common in our walk. I always thought I had to do big things for God. Wasn't that why He gave me my great intelligence and my people personality?
One of the first things God did when He started really working on me was take away my intelligence. I used to be able to remember everything, now I'm lucky if I can remember anything. I also had to unlearn everything I learned in the organization we call church. God took me (and is continuing to take me) to a place where all I have is Him. But, of course when I have only Him, I have everything.
I am suggesting to everyone to read Wide Open Spaces by Jim Palmer. He is travelling the same road as you, me, Nicole, Laurie, Alvin, Joel and lots of others for God's remnant in this world.

Keep being Bino and doing the small things God wants you to do and let Him do the big things. It's a lot easier that way. I heard somewhere about a yoke being easy and a burden being light. I wonder what He meant?

doing the small things
bob

PS - the small things we do are absolutely huge in Eternal value.

Aida said...

Bino, I agree with Bob. I am so encouraged by what you write. I think you would write a great book.

I guess most of us have dreamed about doing great things for God . . . preaching before thousands, winning the lost and hearing him say "Well done, good and faithful servant".

However, all he wants is us, not what we can do for him. His love is not based on what we do. The good news is that I don't have to earn his love and acceptance. He just loves me.

My focus is changing too. Just being with him and doing whatever he's doing at the moment is now so much more meaningful.

Bob, my copy of Wide Open Spaces should be in the mail. Hopefully, I'll receive it this week. I'm looking forward to reading it since I really liked Divine Nobodies.

Aida

Nicole's Godblog said...

Bino! Just what Daelon said, absolutely sincere, honest and beautiful.

Every word you said spoke to me with great power, you hit the nail on the head! I love how easy you make this journey sound, and so it is. When one lets go of all the 'have too's' then life with Father becomes something that flows smoothly and naturally and not forced. EASY. You are so real. I love that! Its like we are on the same page on everything you mentioned. His yoke is easy and His burden is light! Sure thing brother! It is so amazing to understand how simple Father wants to be with us! He is truly an easy God and easy going with His people!

Love and Freedom Bino!

-Nicole-

Nicole's Godblog said...

Oh yeah! And you should really consider writing a book! I would definitely read it!

:) :) :) :) :) :)

Daelon said...

Yes. A book would be wonderful. You should do a collaboration with Joel or something lol.

Aida said...

Wow! A book written by Joel and Bino! That would be a powerhouse book.

Aida

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Thanks for all the encouragement all of you.

Bob, thank you for suggesting 'Wide Open Spaces'. I will add it to my amazon wish list. 'Divine Nobodies' has been in my wish list for a long time now. I think I need to catch up my reading.

Once again thank you all for the encouragement. About writing a book, to me it is a 'big' thing, but if my Big God wants to do something big like that through me, He will do it at the due time. :)

Joel Brueseke said...

Daelon you said it best about the walk many of us have been on in the past, and many in the church on are today... "stressed when we do and stressed when we don't!" I really did LOL on that one. :)

Bino,

I absolutely melted when I read this post, because I can relate to it and I know so many others can, and I knew what you were leading up to. It's a very freeing post, to say the very least!

There are so many things I want to say that would echo what you and others have said here, but I'll stick to something you said near the end. After melting due to what you were already saying, I melted some more as I looked something else up in regards to this sentence of yours:

"No big plans. No big visions. No big anticipations. No big programs."

SOOOO many churches (and ministries) love to quote Proverbs 29:18, which says "where there is no vision, the people perish." (Of course, they don't quote the next part of the verse, "but he that keepeth the law, happy is he." :) I won't get into that last part, because everyone knows what I'll say, :), but the point about the first part is that many people seem to think that unless there is some BIG vision and plan and program, the people will perish. Churches seem to feel the need to have some sort of big vision that they can have all the people rally around, and everything becomes focused on that vision, or that mission, and the thought is that "the people will perish" if they don't follow through. In other words, their church will fall apart. It's not so much about each of us being who we are in the body of Christ; it becomes about making sure our vision is fulfilled.

Anyway, most Bible versions that I have on my computer Bible translate that verse, "without revelation, the people are unrestrained..."

I'd say that we have had one huge revelation (Christ in us, our hope of glory), and out of that revelation comes lots of smaller revelations throughout the entirety of our lives, in regards to our daily walks with Christ. I think the point of my post that you linked to here, as well as what you've said here, goes along with the idea that our daily lives with Christ has more to do with the small revelations than with any amount of huge revelations.

I'm not against the idea of God giving 'huge' revelations or 'big' ideas to His people (how can I be against what God does!). I think there are some wonderful "big" ministries that God has truly brought about and sustained. But even in those big ministries, it's about the smaller ideas, the smaller visions and revelations, and God using each and every one of us all within the context of one body.

We simply "be" and He simply does in us what He wants to do as we grow in His unconditional love and grace.

Joel Brueseke said...

About the book thing... Bino, I've always thought the same thing. It's a "big" thing and I think God has put it on my heart to do it, but it will be in His way and in His timing.

As for a collaboration... I think (but I can't remember for sure) that a long time ago Bob mentioned to me the idea of a collaboration. (?) I may have the wrong person, because like you, Bob, I have trouble remembering things these days as well!

But no matter what, I think all of us have great things to share with each other and to encourage one another with.

Nicole's Godblog said...

Bino, I have been thinking today about your comment about writing a book may be too big of a task, and I can understand that. I hope I wasn't pressuring you about writing a book, but wanted to relay to you how wonderful your writings and thoughts have been in my life. I look forward to waking up in the morning (if there's time) and reading your blog, among all the others. You seem so authentic and very real. That is encouraging and Father is blessing me with what you say! Father knows what he is doing in and through your blog and that doesn't mean that you have to write a book. like you said, God is big enough to let others know what he is doing (in your life (I added that part) ). I think he is already doing that!

Lots of Love and Freedom in this Journey brother!
-Nicole-

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Joel,

I know what you are talking about Proverbs 29:18. I have heard it over and over in churches. I have sat through some Power point presentations talking about 'vision of the church'. It makes me wonder what is the significance of Holy Spirit in all these? When churches operate on the basis of pre-defined vision, the people who belong to that church are forced to act according to the same vision. There is no room for individual growth. They 'follow' their leader or the visionary and in effect making the Spirit who lives in them silent. Its like a programmed robot. Its boring.
Some of the great revelations in my life came without much commotion. I agree with you, what matters is, those small revelations of each individual. Those do not necessarily come from large organizations.

Bino B. Manjasseril said...

Nicole,

I truly appreciate your encouragement. I am so glad that you have been blessed by my posts. This is a place where I vent out some of my frustrations with the religion and also share some of the insights God gives me. If God is using to encourage somebody I am truly thankful to Him. I enjoy reading your blog as well. In fact, many of the things I write here are my thoughts on the different things I read on many other blogs. We all help each other in one way or other. Like you, I too look forward everyday to read what others have to say. I have been part of many small groups/fellowships etc in the past but I can't compare any of them with the love and encouragement I get here on this blog world.

Thank you again for the love and encouragement! Thank you being a true sister in Christ. Also, feel free to express your disagreement as well (if any). Bible says, we can use His word for 'correction' as well.