Friday, September 18, 2015

Great Things

This morning my little devotional said:

"Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God."
 William Carey

And I felt that familiar heaviness settle around my heart. Great things for God. It seems that admonition has been lurking in the shadows for as long as I can remember. It has managed to fill me with guilt and shame at times and even when I confront it head-on it never quite goes away.

We hear so much these days about finding our life's purpose. Isn't that what we all long for? To find the "thing" God created us to do and then go and do great things for God? I will be sixty-nine in a couple of months, and I admit I still haven't arrived. I'm an exceedingly slow learner.

However, I have, at long last, yanked that shadow out into the light and come to terms with it. In the third chapter of Luke, John the Baptist, that firebrand preacher, is warning the people of God's coming judgement:

"…every tree that doe not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire."
  Luke 3:9

The crowds, perhaps feeling a little of what we are tempted to feel when we think we haven't done enough, asked what they should do.

John didn't urge them to go do run out and find their purpose and begin to do great things. Instead he said:

"If you have two shirts, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry."
  Luke 3:11

To the tax collectors he advised that they not collect any more in taxes than the government required. His instruction to soldiers was not to extort money or make false accusations.

Nothing earth-shattering. Simply do what is right in God's sight - love Him and others - great things.

What might that look like for us? Is it possible the fruit the Father is looking for is something as simple as helping the poor? Or perhaps it is caring for aging parents, praying with and listening to a friend who is in need of encouragement and help, reaching out to a neighbor, rocking a sick baby through a long night, picking up the messiness at the end of the day only to have to do it all over again tomorrow, writing that note or making that phone call, bringing a meal to a sick friend, or any of the small seemingly unnoticed things we do in obedience to the call of a great God.

Surely some are called to great things, and they are used mightily of God. We all have been given gifts to be used for His glory and the benefit of others. But in His kingdom even the things that seem of little importance to us are deemed great in His eyes. He takes those little acts of obedience and writes them into His great story of redemption and love. Each one building on another until it is one beautiful whole.

Blessings dear friends,