In all the talk today of measuring success by numbers, based on how many “hits,” “clicks,” or “likes” we get on our social media, I am often taken back to the memory of my very first Youth With a Mission trip in 1984. We were traveling through the Atlantic Coast of Canada, performing an evangelistic drama known as Toymaker and Son. It was a 52 minute long drama performed in full costume to a soundtrack recorded by a professional orchestra. It was all mime and dance, a real workout for us young people to perform in the hot summer sun, and we performed it anywhere we could. One performance stands out above the rest to me because we performed it on an empty grass lawn, to no audience at all.
We had come into a city that was a county seat of government. I believe it may have been Halifax, Nova Scotia. We had tried to get access to perform in various city venues but to no avail. After a time of prayer, our leaders decided that we would perform the entire drama out on a grassy area in front of a government building, but with one catch: we had no audience at all.
It was an act of intercession and worship, with an audience of God alone. We would perform the entire thing during the lunch hour, so even workers who might be drawn to watch could only watch a part of it, before hurrying back to work on time. We were encouraged to focus on doing this one performance as if it was the most important one of all, and so we poured out our sweat in the hot sun, performing to an empty courtyard with all the energy as if we were performing for a king.
It was hard, and we were relieved when it was over. However, later we learned that one of the few people who had stayed for most of the drama was a city official who was so moved by what he saw, he offered to use his position to open a way into the venues that were closed to use before. It seemed that in no time at all, we were performing in libraries, parks, schools, and government venues that had been closed to us just days before. Our offering to Jesus as an audience of one resulted in a breakthrough in places of power.
Now over 30 years later, I've not forgotten the power of playing for the Audience of One. Even so, it is not an easy principle to put into effect. The Bible is full of these faithful secret servants, such as David who was a shepherd to sheep, alone and unappreciated even by his brothers, long before God promoted him to be the shepherd of Israel. We see it in Jesus choosing 12 men one by one, each of whom was doing a decidedly unremarkable work in the worlds eyes right up to the moment Jesus called them out to be the disciples. We must remember this especially when we are assigned a humble task, one that doesn’t seem “spiritual” at all.
When I work in the kitchen, I can see quickly which students are ready for leadership responsibility and able to be trusted with the bigger things. Many students may look enthusiastic in the worship service, with hands held high to the music they love. Many students shine in quoting the Bible. Yet the real test, in God's eyes, is when we can perform our best work to that audience of one, in the invisible place.
It may be in the dish washing room, or when mopping the floor. It may be that time you spend one on one with the difficult person that nobody else is willing to be friends with. Sometimes it is when you keep a promise that costs you something, even though you could have walked away from it without anybody noticing.
Stepping out and joining a short term mission project through Youth With a Mission may feel like you are performing to an audience of one. However, it's the Audience of One that changed everything for our team.
Don't wait another second to talk with someone from YWAM Tyler about our next training school coming up. There are some great opportunities for you.