It's The Little Things
There was this kid I knew in junior high that went forward during an altar call at the church we both attended---an act that wasn't that unusual, considering we attended a fire and brimstone kind of church where altar calls were kind of obligatory...
If you're not familiar with those kinds of churches... consider your self lucky.
After my friend responded to the altar call, in fairly short order, the pastor announced to everyone that the boy had decided to come forward because he was "answering the call to preach."
For some reason, the kid felt compelled that Sunday to set the course of his life and to start the process of becoming a preacher. Everyone applauded... tons of people shouted "Amen!" It was a great moment for my friend.
He never became a preacher, by the way.
What he was responding to, however, was some pretty bad theology. We were taught that what God wanted from everyone who claimed to be a Christian was a really big gesture to prove it.
If you wanted to prove you were a committed follower of Jesus... answer the call to preach... or become a missionary... or find some kind of full-time Christian service... give up all your worldly goods and become an evangelist...
Stuff like that.
The problem is, so many people still think the same kind of thing, or a variation of it. Far too many of us think that the only way to make sure that God loves us is by doing something really big.
Fr. Henri Nouwen once wrote: Following does not require dramatic gestures.
I love that. I also love what he followed up that statement with when he said:
The great secret of the spiritual life is that you already know the little steps, even if you don't know the big ones. You don't need to know the big steps to take the little steps. You only have to take one step at a time.So maybe instead of trying to do really big things to impress God (and others), what we should be focused on is doing the little things really well. Maybe we simply smile at everyone we meet. Or we show kindness to our partner. Spend quality time with our kids or grandkids. Or we find a place to serve at our church.
If we learn to take the little steps, then the bigger steps will come. We'll begin to see more clearly just how much God values the little steps that we take every single day as we do our best to walk humbly and stumble after Jesus.
May this be true for you today and every day. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.