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Does a little matter much?

December 2012 | by Doug Nichols

Does a little matter much?

Africa is a continent with massive needs. What wonderful opportunities for ministry with the gospel and compassionate care, for God’s glory!
    We should not settle for doing only a little for the kingdom of God, when we can do so much more by trusting in our sovereign Lord to use us for his glory. On the other hand, we should never despise the day of small things. We should do what we can, even if that might be something small.
Multiplied ministry

The boy in the Gospel of John only had a small, poor lunch of five loaves and two fish, yet in the hands of Jesus the lunch was multiplied to meet the physical needs of 5000 men, plus women and children.
    While in Africa, my wife held a little AIDS baby for about one hour. Did this baby know what was happening? I carried another baby around the AIDS hospice for quite a while and sat with another little, sick boy who hugged up next to me. He did not understand a thing I was saying, as I sought to minister to him from the Word of God and sang ‘Jesus loves the little children…’
    We may not have made a real difference in the lives of these children; or did we?
    Margaret and I were on the streets with a young ACTION missionary from Minneapolis working with street children. We bought lunch for 20 boys, which only cost 25¢ each. Did this make a difference?
    Most of the boys ate their lunch and left, but a few were very thankful and appreciative. $5 to buy a large lunch for 20 boys is such a little thing. Did it make any difference?
    We visited a church-based community school in a building with no roof and a dirt floor. Almost 500 children were gathered in the one room. I saw a little boy with an open, infected sore above his eye. I put on a little antiseptic and band-aid.
    This was such a small thing. Did it make any difference? The little boy sure seemed to appreciate this care and concern and repaid us with a smile and a hug.

Appreciated ministry
The ACTION Zambia team leader and I conducted a three-hour seminar for 44 pastors and Christian workers, which included a snack. The three-hour seminar along with the snack and soft drink for each came to a total of only $20, which is less than 50¢ each. This is such a small amount. Did it make any difference?
    These pastors sure appreciated it, especially the teaching from the Word of God and the small snack of bread and soft drink. Many of these pastors go without food weekly, so their wife and children can eat.
    Many times we think doing missions and ministry is only for the people who are well educated and very knowledgeable, or for articulate speakers who can sing, lead well, direct, and give counsel to every problem.
    However, many of us are not in this category, but we can do small things. We can sit on the corner with a street child and give a piece of bread and a soft drink while sharing the gospel. We can hold children in an AIDS hospice or in the many evangelical orphanages in Lusaka, Malawi, or Uganda.
    There are presently 13 million AIDS orphans in Africa and thousands of untrained pastors. Would you prayerfully consider taking your abilities, talents, background, finances and/or expertise and give them to Jesus and let him multiply these gifts to reach the multitudes with his gospel and compassion, for his glory?
    Why not? Someone said years ago: ‘A little from our world makes a big difference in theirs!’
Doug Nichols
ACTION International Ministries (

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