I’ve been hanging out in the book of Ruth quite a lot recently, and so thinking about some of the wonderful ways in which God uses seemingly insignificant moments and coincidences to do bigger things.
I wonder if Ruth, as she cradled her newborn son, had any inkling that he would grow up to be the grandfather of Israel’s great king, David. Or if she had any clue that her decision to give up her home and security to follow her mother-in-law back to Bethlehem would eventually lead to the birth of Jesus, the saviour of the world, and the ultimate redeemer.
Perhaps I’ll get to ask her one day.
I think about all the little things that have happened in my life to bring me to the point that where I am today. God used so many different moments and conversations to bring me to know and love the Lord Jesus, lots of little things that, woven together, led to the biggest thing.
I’m often given the privilege of explaining my story of how God saved me and brought me into His family, and it’s a pretty long story, which only gets longer, as He continues to teach me and change me. But it always starts the same way:
‘I grew up in a Christian home…’
My dad is fond of a quote, which may or may not be from E. Stanley Jones, which states something along the lines of the fact that, “God doesn’t have grandchildren“. Essentially, you can’t inherit your salvation from your Christian parents – each of us must come to the Lord ourselves. And yet, whilst that is true, I recognise that God has used the fact that that I grew up with believing parents as part of the story of bringing me to know Him for myself.
A couple of weeks ago my parents were down in London, attending a memorial service for the Rev. John R.W. Stott, who went home to be with Christ in July last year. For the first 7 years of my life I attended All Souls Church, where John Stott was Rector Emeritus. I don’t remember him at all, and yet, I know the impact that he had on my parents as they grew in their knowledge and love of the Lord Jesus, and of the impact that that he has therefore had on my own faith, and most of all I know of the insignificant but wonderful way that God used him to bring my dad to Christ.
As it happens, my dad did not grow up in a Christian home himself, and came to know Jesus in his twenties, not too long after he left Newcastle University. About 40 years ago he was on holiday in Keswick, and on his way to climb Skiddaw he was introduced to John Stott. Dad was about to move to London, and Stott encouraged him to visit All Souls once he arrived in the big city. As the story goes, Dad decided to head to church after a couple of weeks in London, John Stott remembered him and greeted him by name and Dad was so impressed that he kept going back to church and after another 2 months became a Christian.
I love this.
I love that an insignificant conversation in an insignificant Cumbrian market town, led to the most significant event in my Dad’s life.
I love that God works that way so much of the time.
And I pray that He would teach me to make the most of all of the ‘insignificant moments’, praying that He would use them to do many significant things.
In summary: significant.