Last Sunday, I was sitting in church, praying.
I heard the Lord ask me, “Do you love me?”
I answered, “I would go to the ends of the earth for you.”
And he said, “I know. But will you…” and there was a small thing that I’ve been wrestling with.
I really would go to the ends of the earth. If God called me to Africa, I’m there. If God wants me to adopt ten kids, sign me up.
I often find it much easier to be obedient in the grand dramatic things than in the little things.
I’ll go to Africa, but I’d much rather not talk to a stranger at the gas station. I mean, that’s probably not God telling me to do that, right? See, he’s already getting in his car, if God wanted me to talk to him, that man would have stood outside staring vacantly into the distance for five or ten minutes while I work up the nerve.
I suspect I’m not the only one.
Here’s something to think about: God doesn’t need you to go to Africa. God wants African believers to talk to their neighbors. Some people are certainly called to do big dramatic things, but His usual design is a little less flashy than that. He very likely has plans for you in your own community.
In any case, it seems that we usually start with small obediences before God calls us into grand missions.
In Matthew 25, Jesus tells the parable of the talents. The fact that “talents” is a unit of money in the story, but also our word for natural abilities, is a cool God-coincidence in the translation. If you’ve never read this parable, you can find it here.
To the one who has been faithful with the “talents” God has given Him, God says, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much…”
In 1 Corinthians 4:2, Paul is talking about being entrusted with the mysteries of the Gospel. He says, “Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.”
In Galatians 6:9, Paul instructs us to “…not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
It seems to me that faithfulness and obedience in the small things is a Kingdom principle. We see it consistently throughout the narrative of the Bible, and in the words of Jesus and His first apostles.
It’s true as a Kingdom principle, and it’s also true for writers.
Becoming a professional writer, as a Christian, is much less about grand dramatic gestures, and much more about our obedience to the call every day. It’s about our obedience in little, unnoticed ways.
The way that we discipline our time. How we work even when we don’t really feel like it. In our content choices for one little article or a short story that practically no one will ever see. That’s the arena of obedience.
It’s easy to look at someone who has made it as a professional writer and to see that as a grand dramatic thing, but I assure you the journey didn’t feel that way to them. They didn’t wake up one morning and in a moment transform their lives. They faithfully applied themselves to the calling day after day while no one noticed, until “suddenly” (from our perspective) they’re a recognized author.
For months and years there was no glory, no recognition…in fact, it probably looked like foolishness. But as Paul said, “…the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.” (1 Corinthians 3:19)
I pray that everyone who is a part of this community is wildly successful, impacting thousands upon thousands with their work. But even more so, I pray that we’re each learning to be faithful in the small things and obedient to the Lord day by day.
That’s the arena of obedience.
(Find and share a podcast episode based on this article here: “The Arena of Obedience (Episode 107)”)
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