It’s one of the more mundane things I do as media ministries staff: soldering microphone connectors in the floor pockets.
Our sanctuary was built in 1991, and after over twenty years of use, some of the old and frequently used connectors have started to fail. It isn’t a glamorous task. I have to be uncomfortable on the dusty floor, and then disassemble the steel pocket that houses the connectors. I use a hot, handheld instrument to liquefy the metal that holds the cables in place to the failed connector. Then I replace the connector, work with more molten metal, and reverse the entire process. Common side effects include melted plastic, burned fingertips, and splashes of liquid solder on clothing and hands.
How Much Gospel?
In the process of doing this, I was trying to modify my attitude toward the job until God provided me with a fresh perspective. The connector I was replacing had for over twenty years, without complaint, been a stalwart tool used for heralding the gospel to every person who has stepped foot in our sanctuary.
I began to wonder, How much gospel has passed through these wires?
How would you measure it? Minutes can’t quantify it, even if you calculated the sum of sermons and Scripture and worship in song that have been in this place, they each planted their own seeds in the hearts of the hearers. And those seeds overflowed from the doors of this church out into the communities in our area, and even across oceans, as one heart overflowed to another. No, minutes won’t do.
The little cable that I was soldering carried electrical signal of the one speaking converted to volts, so perhaps it could be measured in volts. But even if a meter were wired inline to add up that number, it would end up lacking. For such a number pales in comparison to the way the gospel transforms lives. No shock of the cumulative power that passed through these three little wires could compare to the shock and joy that a family has when they see the lives of their loved ones changed — loved ones of whom they had been praying for years. This in turn leads to the praise of God’s glorious grace, and no voltmeter can measure the energy of praise that comes in the way God gives life to those who were dead in sin.
How about enumerating those changed lives? What is the number of transformed hearts that found their source by way of this little metal conductor? Another impossibility to determine for the same reasons that counting minutes won’t work. The lives changed beget more lives changed because of the power of the gospel. It is greater than the wire, the connector, and the microphone. It is greater than the one who speaks or the one who sings, or prays, or reads.
Called and Empowered
Paul tells us that we bearers of the gospel are like jars of clay (2 Corinthians 4:7). There is something similar between clay pots and worn wires — neither exist for the sake of themselves.
Water flows through cracked pots without inhibition. Electrons do the same through these little wires. We are to be that kind of witness with our lives, in front of our family and neighbors. Everywhere we turn there is an opportunity for a little bit of the treasure stored up within to spill out on those around us. Opportunities abound, but so much of the time I walk around avoiding these amazing opportunities — like a broken wire shorting the circuit. I avoid them out of fear of man, but that’s not what God built me for. I’m supposed to be his messenger of his good news for everyone (Matthew 28:18–20).
It’s not pleasant to sit on the dusty floor hunched over a shortened cable coming out of the floor and use tools hot enough to melt metal to repair this little connector while breathing in lead and flux fumes of the solder. It is also not pleasant to face your fears of derision and ridicule, but it is good, and it is what God calls and empowers us to do. Working in the strength that he provides, we have a promise that he will work out his will when his truth is spoken through me (Isaiah 55:10–11).
This little wire and its metal connector are conduits of the gospel, being redeemed in their use and glorifying the Father in heaven. The new connector now repaired, lies dormant, awaiting the first time it will be used. We, however, don’t have to wait. We are living, breathing conduits that God can use to glorify his name any place and any time. It is amazing that God chooses to use such ordinary wire for his extraordinary purposes.