I never met Ravi Zacharias. Yet, I was saddened by the news of his death on May 19, 2020. I admired his wit, gentleness, and humour. His death felt like a loss to the spread of the Gospel. He had clearly made an impact in our world for the kingdom.
By the time Ravi was 40, he had preached to the inaugural International Conference for Itinerant Evangelists in Amsterdam (1983) at Billy Graham’s invitation, preached the gospel across North America, completed a year long preaching trip that would see him preach nearly 600 times in over a dozen countries, prayed with military prisoners in Vietnam, ministered to students in Cambodia, and founded the ministry that bears his name. (rzim.ca/read/obituary-ravi–zacharias)
A word I hear used regularly by Christian bloggers and speakers is ‘platform.’ It’s easy to get into the trap of comparing the size of our platforms, influence, or impact. It’s easy to compare my apparent lack of impact with the impact Zacharias (and others) have had.
In The Contrarian’s Guide to Spirituality, Larry Osborn imagines the faith and impact of the ‘cobbler of Corinth’: someone who faithfully followed Jesus but didn’t have the same platform or influence as Paul. This made a big impact on me. I realized that I’m not called to compare platforms. I’m called to be faithful to Jesus.
In the parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the master does not expect the servant given two talents to gain the same amount as the servant he gave five. He expects each to be faithful with what they’ve been given.
So, I’m not called to compare the size of my platform with Billy Graham’s or my impact with Ravi Zacharias’. I’m called to be faithful with what God has given me and to what he has called me so that, when I die or Jesus returns, I can hear those words, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”