THE SIMPLE THINGS
In God’s economy of things, more often than not, it will be the simple things that trigger the spiritual, that dimension of God that cannot be stopped.
There came a time in Jesus’ earthly ministry when He prayed: “I thank You Father, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and delivered them to babes.” Long before that, during an important time of restoration for God’s people, the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel was to be careful not to despise small beginnings.
Why? For the same reason: the simplicity of the process would remain hidden from the smarts of the self-absorbed and skeptics.
While in prayer following our most recent venture into Vietnam, the Lord reminded me of the importance of the simple things. It is in recognizing the simplicity and the faithful response of listening hearts that God does some of His most profound works.
I love the deep things of God. I love just sitting in the consciousness of His presence. I’m awed by the wonders of His ways and the richness of His thoughts.
Yet in the practicalities of life, in walking out a life of godly purpose, it will be the glimmers we capture from Him, that we act on, that will make the biggest difference. In my practice of arising for the mid-watch, I have recently found myself winding down before returning to bed by reading testimonies from “Guideposts” magazine. More often than not, these simple stories reflect the wonder of God at work in the simple, faithful responses of ones who have listening hearts and have responded to those inner promptings of the One they reach for when life’s challenges have put them in a place beyond themselves.
This was the way it was on our last venture into Vietnam. In recognizing that realm beyond ourselves, there was a shift. Just a simple change, yet built upon all that we have been already setting in motion.
Interesting as well, that following similar, very dramatic developments over a decade ago, after our first year of these efforts in Vietnam, I had asked the Lord why all these wonderful developments had not begun just a few years prior, when I was younger and better able to take advantage of them. The response was immediate: “Because in your weakness, My strength will be manifested.” I was 65 at the time.
Life is never static, but requires the continual recognition and application of the creative, anticipatory God-responses to the change continually happening around us.
Then, I was reminded of still another very similar shift, roughly two years ago.
Vision Becoming Reality
At one of our workshops during that trip was a man who had attended one of our first God’s economy workshops in Vietnam in 2008. We remembered each other. At the time, before him was a risk, a step of faith in acquiring some land on which he was going to grow fruit. My workshop message stirred his faith and his thinking. I remember praying for him and advising him. He began implementing the Kingdom principles tied to entering God’s economy and believing God was with him, he moved on the opportunity.
Today, the fertile land he purchased supports an orchard of one of the popular fruits in Asia. The venture has prospered and far exceeded his expectations. It began with the simplicity of a vision. Then with a balanced mix of professional preparation and prayer, he stepped out in faith. The Lord blessed his efforts. In turn, he has blessed many people, becoming a man of influence. Today, his vision has expanded and he is a benefactor of the community of which he is a part.
Triggering the Vision
So it has been for another businessman we’ve been close to since we first starting coming to Vietnam. A few years ago, I shared with this man the story of a unique community of believers in Eastern Europe who had the vision to start the first private Christian school in their nation.
Knowing there would be hurdles of bureaucracy and red-tape, the community decided to begin with a private Christian kindergarten. The start was rough with it taking five attempts of submitting their application before it was finally approved. Then, over time it flourished and grew into a much sought-after primary school that was so excellent that even local non-Christians wanted their children to attend despite its foundations being based on teaching the Bible. In twelve years, at the time of our visit, they had gained the respect of their entire city and had just opened their secondary school.
In telling this story to our Vietnamese friend, an accomplished business owner, he breathlessly told me: THAT was his vision. So he began with simplicity. Remarkably he built a building with little support from the West. The first step for that building was to house orphans he had adopted and was already raising. He also used the facility for English classes for children in the neighborhood. Jesus commented that he who is faithful in what is least will also be faithful in much more.
Then, having done his homework by speaking with other private school owners, this man made application to open a private kindergarten. The application was approved. His English and Vietnamese bi-lingual school now has over 30 students. They serve the neighborhood with special classes and festivals on holidays. The simple things.
To catch the simple things, you have to be listening. Listening with your heart.
Faithfulness in the Simple Things
One of the pastors we work with has a very tender heart toward orphans. In addition to the network of churches he oversees, he supports a rural orphanage that currently has 104 orphans. That includes a facility and a staff that care for these children, rescued from human trafficking, whose ages range from six to fifteen.
One of the events shaping this pastor’s life happened when he was a young boy in the 1960s. He was a part of the Toys for Tots program, a Christmas program that Marines put on for local kids. In this case the program was done for Vietnamese kids during the Vietnam conflict.
The Marines played Christmas carols, fed the kids and gave them each a gift. They showed them kindness. It came at a time when life was very uncertain in Vietnam and the pastor who himself had been a kid then always remembered this occasion. He credits it with preparing his heart for the Lord years later.
On each trip we make to Vietnam we bring a small suitcase filled with small chocolate candies that this pastor then gives to the orphans and the young people in his congregations. Children remember kindness. The simple things matter.
The Simplicity of Opportunity
So it was in early 2008, while speaking at a conference in mainland China, that the invitation came to us to go to Vietnam to speak to a congregation on Easter Sunday. Having spent two years in Vietnam in the 1960s and having prayed fervently for the post-1975 Vietnamese church, my joy was full.
I had nothing to prove to anyone. Not at that age in my life. Still, God had stirred something deep in my heart, tied to His own priorities. The response was just one of those simple things.
Yet, in the simplicity of that short trip, that simple step of faith, it was a new beginning. The doors opened for a whole new arena that far, far exceeded my expectations. A decade later we’re still walking out this expanding opportunity, as we simultaneously sense the shift that will expand these efforts into new and even more vital arenas.
A Recent Simple Step
It was also a little over a year ago, having completed a set of 24 twelve to fourteen minute videos on Jewish business secrets, that I was meeting with the Vietnamese businessman who asked me to prepare this video series. He and a committee of business owners he leads are using them to reach the next generation of Vietnamese entrepreneurs. I KNEW in passing the flash drive of these video files to this man, that something very important was being set in motion. Those videos, also on YouTube, now have more than 12,000 views. The simple things.
Standing in Faith Against Opposition
Yet each of these steps of faith have encountered stiff spiritual opposition. Change involves risk. Change will trigger hurdles to be surmounted. Clearly, God’s promptings have something more in mind than we realize at the time. That is due to the dynamic of the process of receiving “His thoughts” beginning with glimmers. There’s always more than our initial perceptions. He wouldn’t be God otherwise. And it takes faith, humility and the fear of the Lord on our part to sufficiently get it right to take action.
Hidden in the wonder of the results of these stories is the priority given to time spent with Him. It is the time we give to embracing Spirit and Truth as the foundation to knowing Him and His ways, with an undivided heart. It is the simple connection between the poise of our soul and the priorities of His heart.
Because of God’s progressive way of communicating to us, along with the amassing of the serious prayers of those we work with and to whom we impart our Kingdom message, together with our God’s economy message; spiritual hunger is expanding and manifesting everywhere we go. It amasses as communities act and trigger change. It is very much a groundswell of God’s presence manifesting in each agenda set in motion. Simultaneously, each one, who truly know the Lord are being prepared for exploits and their role in times of spiritual turning. That’s how change works.
There is no question of there being hucksters, ones who seek personal gain from presenting counterfeits of the Kingdom. Jesus stated simply that we would know them by their fruits. There is a reason why comments about the Lord detesting “dishonest scales” is found in so many locations within the Bible. Too often, it comes down to the fine-line between it being a “God-thing” or a “man-thing.” That is why Scripture tells us that: “That which has begun in the Spirit cannot be worked out in the flesh.”
It comes down to the responses, as the product of our thinking, which are shaped by the standard Jesus referred to as being the Kingdom of God. From that thinking will come the glimmers for the creativity and action needed to become the planters of His purpose and blessing. And our future, according to His plan.
From the simple steps of preparation and obedience we are made to realize that we are continually stepping into whole new dimensions of what the Lord has in store for us. While chaos, corruption and dishonest scales both within and outside the community of believers, around the world, may be on the increase, so are the God-opportunities, if we’ll just keep our eyes on the Lord and the simplicity of the turning points unfolding.
A recent kind note from a close friend and long-time working associate gave reference to my “late-in-life calling.” That phrase, describing our current efforts bothered me. It wasn’t right, as what we are doing began when I made a conscious decision to commit all I was, my career, my future, my life to Him. This current season is the culmination of a series of responses to a life of walking together with the Lord.
More aptly, a “late-in-life opportunity.” Yet, the “late-in-life” description wasn’t “late” as the timing has dovetailed progressively with something significant God has been doing. For that matter, when you really came down to it, this season really wasn’t about me, but rather the uniqueness of the alignment of my life to His that set the stage for this season of opportunity.
Although, having said all that, the timing of this “opportunity” certainly does describe the season of fruit-bearing we are now walking out. Nevertheless, the roots did begin going deep as a part of the process that began in the early 1970s, when in simplicity, not having a clue of what lay ahead, but knowing the One I was following, I left a military career in mid-stream to prepare for “ministry.” Perhaps instead of “ministry,” it might be better stated that I was preparing for a life of Kingdom opportunity.
So it was that I spent two years in Bible training and graduate school preparing for that goal. Then God spoke a word I wasn’t expecting, that my “ministry” was to be in business. There are times when God’s way of thinking can simply be “out of the box,” at least being beyond the confines of the boundaries of our own thinking.
It would be in the same way, that years later, our Vietnam effort would be His strength in my weakness, as I had no background in business. What could be simpler than that?
It all draws from the simplicity of the life-choices made that result from spending time with Him, of knowing Him and His ways and acting on the promptings of His Holy Spirit.
So it has been, that over the years, as the Lord has guided my steps, that He has used me in business in ways I never could have been used in traditional ministry.
The standard and the goal reshaped my thinking from what most would consider a traditional calling or ministry. As a result, I have helped others in being a part of starting over a dozen ministries. I have served on the boards of ministries and missionary organizations, the results of which have had a worldwide outreach and always been tied back to the priority of His heart, Israel. I have consulted with and had a major influence with organizations that were a part of the top Fortune 500 companies around the world.
Then, came the still small voice and opportunity for Vietnam, a “later-in-life opportunity” part of my calling. Thousands have been exposed to Kingdom thinking and God’s economy in the workshops we’ve done in five continents across the globe and in Vietnam. Scores and scores have taken simple steps to start businesses and begun to be used by God as community builders as they have prospered from applying their gifts in business in serving their communities.
It was all part of the process, the mosaic that God was weaving into the tapestry of my life and the biblical model He has entrusted me to impart along the way. All of which has set in motion ripples from each of the lives and callings prompted by the richness of the Kingdom truths of our message.
That seems to be the way the simple things operate.
Morris Ruddick has been a forerunner and spokesman for the higher dimensions of business leadership since the mid-90s. As founder of Global Initiatives Foundation and designer of the God’s Economy Entrepreneurial Equippers Program, Mr. Ruddick imparts hope and equips economic community builders to be blessed to be a blessing where God’s light is dim in diverse regions around the globe.
He is author of “The Joseph-Daniel Calling;” “Gods Economy, Israel and the Nations;” “The Heart of a King;” “Something More;” “Righteous Power in a Corrupt World;” “Leadership by Anointing;” and “Mantle of Fire,” which address the mobilization of business and governmental leaders with destinies to impact their communities. They are available in print and e-versions from www.Amazon.com, www.apple.com/ibooks and www.BarnesandNoble.com.
Global Initiatives Foundation (www.strategic-initiatives.org) is a tax-exempt 501 (c) 3 non-profit whose efforts are enabled by the generosity of a remnant of faithful friends and contributors whose vision aligns with God’s heart to mobilize economic community builders imparting influence and the blessings of God. Checks on US banks should be made out to Global Initiatives and mailed to PO Box 370291, Denver CO 80237 or by credit card at http://strategicintercession.org/support/
Likewise, email us to schedule a seminar for your group’s gathering on the Joseph-Daniel Calling or on anointing the creative in business.
2018 Copyright Morris Ruddick — firstname.lastname@example.org
Reproduction is prohibited unless permission is given by a SIGN advisor. Since early 1996, the Strategic Intercession Global Network (SIGN) has mobilized prophetic intercessors and leaders committed to targeting strategic-level issues impacting the Body on a global basis. For previous posts or more information on SIGN, check: http://www.strategicintercession.org