Catalyst by Definition: One that precipitates a process or event, especially without being involved in or changed by the consequences: â€œA free press â€¦ has remained â€¦ a vital catalyst to an informed and responsible electorateâ€ (Robert O’Neal).
In Chemistry: A substance, usually used in small amounts relative to the reactants, that modifies and increases the rate of a reaction without being consumed in the process.
Christians as Catalysts
Awhile back I read about a missionary. At the time I thought it a singularly depressing story. In twenty years spent among a people group she knew of only two people who accepted Christ and before she left to return to her home country both of those converts were dead. Was she a success or a failure?
I think too often we measure the work of God by what our eyes see or what we perceive with our finite minds. Another theme in the books I just finished reading was that of the catalyst, that substance in the middle of the equation which allowed for a different result that would have been attained otherwise. And Iâ€™ve started to ponder the ways in which Christians are catalysts.
When God asks us to do something we often obey without ever seeing the eternal results of our actions. Take the missionary referenced above. Who is to say whether just by living among those people and being a light she held back a greater spreading of darkness? Who is to say whether she was remembered by their village and her strange teachings pondered in the years after she left. Who is to say that when thirty years later missionaries went back to that people, the ground was softer and ready to plant because of her sacrifice? Only God sees the eternal plan of what He calls us to do.
I think that we as Christians are often the catalyst, the substance, the person that precipitates an otherwise unexpected result. God is at work and as He stands outside of time He sees how all the little pieces fit together. He sees the reactions caused by placing a light in this specific patch of darkness. And too often I think we measure ourselves by the wrong standard. We judge by how we view our actions, by what we perceive that we accomplished. But the question is not what did we do, but did we let God work through us, using us to open new possibilities in the lives of others. Did our presence give someone a choice to choose Christ where before the choice wasnâ€™t even available to them? We offer the possibilities of new life and new hope and the work of God in the life of an individual or a family or a people group or nation. The results arenâ€™t our calling. I believe our calling is to the creating of possibilities. I believe we are called to be catalysts.