Will Farrell plays a routine-driven, habit-following, linear-thinking IRS agent by the name of Harold Crick in the film, Stranger Than Fiction. There is one phrase that hangs with me from that hilarious, yet provocative movie – “little did he know.” The phrase refers to what Harold did not realize was actually behind many of things he was doing in his life. A fiction writer was writing a book and as she wrote, the character did or experienced those very things. The eventual and frightening revelation to the fiction writer was that what she wrote was actually being lived out in the daily experiences of a real, live person named Harold Crick.
It makes me think of my spiritual journey.
Little did he know that the prayers of my little league coach with us boys before every game would lead to an unchurched kid becoming a Christ-follower.
Little did she know that the Christian influence of that freckle-faced “heart-throb” of mine in 8th grade English class would lead to my committing my life to Christ as an 18-year old.
Little did he know that the same little girl’s preacher who volunteered as my tennis coach in high school would shape my vocational plans and ordain me for Christian ministry five years after high school. In addition, he baptized me as well as performed my marriage.
And little did I know the one who led me to Christ would be my wife of 40 years this month!
Thanksgiving Sunday a few years ago, I worshipped with the newly started east campus of the church I planted near Chicago in 1994. A young woman came up after the gathering in that movie theater and thanked me. I didn’t know who she was nor could I imagine why I deserved her gratitude. She told me the story. She said,
“Little did you know that when you took time in the summer of 1994 to talk with me (a 16 year old teen then) and my mom about Jesus and the soon to be started church that it would translate into my becoming a Christian 14 years later.”
You see, Heather moved back to the community near the church we planted earlier that year and received a postcard advertising the new campus starting in September. She recognized the logo and name. Amazingly, she remembered me and my visit with her that summer day. As a result, she told me she attended, gave her life to Christ, was baptized, and is now active in a small group.
Wow. Humbled? Understatement. In awe? Yes, of what God will do through the day-to-day, often extemporaneous interactions we have as church planters and Christ-followers. Never underestimate how you can be used by God to change lives.
Little do we know …