In his book, No Little People, which is a collection of sermons by Schaeffer on the subject, Schaeffer sets out by arguing that “there are no little people and no big people in the true spiritual sense, but only consecrated and unconsecrated people” (24). He continues by asking, “But if a Christian is consecrated, does this mean he will be in a big place instead of a little place? The answer, the next step, is very important: as there are no little people in God’s sight, so there are no little places. To be wholly committed to God in the place where God wants him—this is the creature glorified” (24). The point made by Schaeffer here is huge for those laboring and living in the Appalachian region.
Nowhere more than in America are Christians caught in the twentieth-century syndrome of size. Size will show success. If I am consecrated, there will necessarily be large quantities of people, dollars, etc. This is not so. Not only does God not say that size and spiritual power go together, but He even reverses this (especially in the teaching of Jesus) and tells us to be deliberately careful not to choose a place too big for us. We all tend to emphasize big works and big places, but all such emphasis is of the flesh. To think in such terms is simply to hearken back to the old, unconverted, egoist, self-centered Me. This attitude, taken from the world, is more dangerous to the Christian than fleshly amusement or practice. It is the flesh (24-25).
Are we willing to face the temptation, the “spirit and mentality inside us,” with honesty and I would add, with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Or will we succumb to our fleshly passions for the large, the cool, the place of influence? Appalachia is to many a land of little places. Depending upon your locale within the region, low income, high unemployment, areas stricken with poverty, coal mining woes, an aging population, the outmigration of sharp, young minds, etc. could all, generally speaking, characterize your section of the region. Yet, in the eyes of the One who rules over all, who ordains all that comes to pass, who providentially guides the unfolding of all events and the formation of all cultures, who created both the mountains and the people of the mountains, who gave his Son for sinners in Los Angeles and eastern Kentucky alike, Appalachia is no little place.
Concluding, then, with a final quote from Schaeffer:
The people who receive praise from the Lord Jesus will not in every case be the people who hold leadership in this life. There will be many persons who were sticks of wood that stayed close to God and were quiet before Him, and were used in power by Him in a place which looks small to men. Each Christian is to be a rod of God in the place of God for him. We must remember throughout our lives that in God’s sight there are no little people and no little places. Only one thing is important: to be consecrated persons in God’s place for us, at each moment. Those who think of themselves as little people in little places, if committed to Christ and living under His Lordship in the whole of life, may, by God’s grace, change the flow of our generation. And as we get on a bit in our lives, knowing how weak we are, if we look back and see we have been somewhat used of God, then we should be the rod ‘surprised by joy’ (31-32).