Think Big, Start Small, Go Deep - Part 2
God Calls Us To Fulfill His Grand And Glorious Vision
II. Start Small
Sometime ago there was this American cartoonist and film producer whose name was Walter Elias Disney. In 1928, he created the character Mickey Mouse, in "Steamboat Willy," pioneering the concept of animated cartoons. Mickey Mouse is an Academy Award-winning cartoon character that has become an icon for The Walt Disney Company. Today the mouse has evolved from being simply a character in animated cartoons and comic strips to become one of the most recognizable symbols in the world. Walt Disney once said, "I hope we never loose sight, it all started with a mouse."[i]
A big vision has to start somewhere and it almost always has to start small. Therefore we must think big and start small. Jesus was born in the small town of Bethlehem. Apart from the witness of the great multitude of angelic host, Jesus’ birth was made known to a handful of shepherds in the field and wise men from the east. He grew up in an obscure town called Nazareth and worked as a lowly carpenter in his stepfather’s backyard workshop. Yet even though he was confined in a small time town to work in his family’s small time business, Jesus still found the time to be about his Father’s business. He understood that in order for his Father’s business to succeed and flourish in the world, it needed a mustard seed of an investment. Jesus’ very life, like the smallest seed on earth, was to be sown in good ground—the faithful lives of those who followed him. It was Jesus who once said to his disciples in John 12:24, “Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
Jesus lived out his big vision by seeing the world through the eyes of his chosen followers. He wasn’t as concerned with the quantity of followers who were sold out on his divine power and miraculous works, but on a dozen disciples who he spent quality time with by teaching them. He chose and invested his life in the lives of these twelve ordinary men who would bring the Roman Empire to her knees and eventually turn the whole world upside down. Christianity is rooted all the way back to the life of one, Abraham, who chose to believe the Lord and the Lord reckoned it to him as righteousness (Gen 15:6) to the life of one, Jesus, the son of Abraham, the righteousness of God. Remember that one man’s sin led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all. Through Adam’s disobedience many were made sinners, but Jesus’ obedience reversed that situation in that many will be made righteous (Ro 5:19). It takes one faithful person to bear righteous fruit!
Perhaps with one person can we understand the power of the least and smallest in Isaiah 60:21-22: Your people shall be righteous; they shall possess the land forever. They are the shoot that I planted, the work of my hands, so that I might be glorified. The least of them shall become a clan, and the smallest one a mighty nation; I am the LORD; in its time I will accomplish it quickly.
I happen to know one man, one worker of the gospel, Dwight Hill,[ii] an American missionary who returned to the Philippines in September 1983 and set out to make a difference for Christ. Weeks turned into months as Dwight earnestly spent an hour each day in prayer up in the hills of northern California in 1982. He would pray, “God, give me a new vision of what you would want to accomplish through me.” In the process, Dwight envisioned the skyline of the Wall Street of Metro Manila—that is the Makati Financial Center. What followed was a vision of executives scattered throughout those buildings, coming to Christ, and in turn, leading their compatriots to Christ as well. This sequence would repeat and filter down through their companies and have an effect on the business leadership.
After several months of praying and believing that this vision was from God, and having lived over there during the mid to late sixties, Dwight began to make plans to return to the Philippines and penetrate the upper ranks of leadership in the business community of Metro Manila. Not long after his arrival in 1983 did Dwight begin to pray that God reveal to him where the work would start within this vast concrete jungle. He envisioned an eagle that would fly over the cityscape at a high altitude looking for a little fury rabbit and that he would dive down to seize the rabbit. In prayer, he asked God to show him “furry movement” somewhere in the financial center. And it seemed that as he prayed, the most profound movement of God in the city was among the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship. [iii]
Dwight recognized that the form of expression and worship in the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship was in sync with the Filipino mindset. So he immediately started to work his way into the inner circles of that movement. His persistence and prayers paid off as he succeeded in discipling a number of their top flight leaders who had a great zeal for God but a sorry lack of basic discipleship. Dwight’s early exposure led to setting up a breakfast outreach meeting to target some of the businessmen in the area. One of the men who attended this meeting happened to be the vice president of the largest bank in the islands. And on his way home that evening, he prayed and asked God into his heart. This man was highly networked. Through his connections, key businessmen were invited for lunch, introduced to Dwight, and ushered into the kingdom of God.
During that same period, Peter Tanchi, a local businessman and missionary in Campus Crusade for Christ, was also working with the same target people. Unknowingly, Dwight and Peter shared the same vision. Eventually, the same target people and the fruits of their labor kept running into each other. So they began to throw in their efforts, pool their resources and try to complement each other. Peter was very effective in reaching highly motivated, well-educated, quality businessmen in the area. What he realized after a year was that his fruit was not lasting. His fruit didn’t quite fit the existing fellowships within Metro Manila. These churches were protestant in form and philosophy with a strong western cultural bent. So in 1984 he decided to rent an educational institution and start worship services. With an initial 17 in attendance, the numbers multiplied rapidly in the years that followed.
During Dwight’s term as a missionary, he proved to be a finely honed instrument in the hands of God—a man through whom a whole new generation of Filipino Christians emerged. From the time he left in 1985 until now, the church that is called Christ’s Commission Fellowship[iv] is fast approaching a membership of 25,000 believers. Today, the new leaders of this church may not be aware of Dwight’s work, but cannot deny his hidden influence upon their lives through his lasting contribution. This is a noted characteristic of this man of God that he would gladly decrease if only Jesus would increase in his life’s work. Here is one man who dared to think big and start small. I hope we never loose sight, it all started with men given a big vision from God.
[i] Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Mickey Mouse.
[ii] Facts of the Matter. R. Dwight Hill, Jr. has invested the past 35 years of his life in discipling men and women to follow Jesus Christ, and apply Biblical principles to daily living. His primary focus has been to equip lay people to multiply their lives spiritually, thus helping to fulfill Christ's Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. (Matthew 28:18-20) For the past 20 years the Dwight has concentrated his discipling efforts on leaders in the business and professional community, in the United States, Asia and Europe.
[iii] FGBMFI Website. Full Gospel Business Men's Fellowship International are businessmen, men of high status, as well as ordinary men. Our vision is that the light of Jesus shall shine forth from each of our men into every culture, nation, race, language, and creed. That vision is becoming a reality through the Fellowship's ministries, now touching approximately 150 nations and transcending denominational, racial and cultural barriers.
[iv] Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Christ’s Commission Fellowship is an organization of churches whose headquarters is based in Mandaluyong City, Metro Manila, Philippines. With a membership approaching 20,000 people, it is among the fastest growing evangelical churches in Southeast Asia.
[v] Bilibid Prison near Manila was built to hold thousands of convicts. It also held hundreds of American prisoners during Japan's occupation of the Philippines.
© 2009, Gicky Soriano. All rights reserved.
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