In last week’s reflection as well as in my sermon this past Sunday (January 14), I discussed the idea of how God CALLS people to take specific actions or make particular changes in life. In my sermon, I mentioned some of the significant instances in my own life when I felt God’s call…but I want to clarify. I think God ALSO calls us to do very small things all the time: Smile at a stranger. Choose to not take offense when an off-hand remark rubs you the wrong way. Decide to look on the bright side of things. Pick up trash on the street. Send an email. Call a friend. Write a letter.
I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the notion of “God’s call” or “God’s will for my life” as if there is one specific path, full of millions of little decisions and, if we make a bad choice, we might ruin everything. I think God’s path for my life is much more broad and generous. A favorite scripture passage for me has been Jeremiah 29:11 which discusses the fact that God has plans for my life. Another important passage from the Bible (one that was read at our wedding) comes from Matthew 6:33, where the evangelist writes, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
The call of God is to help the world be more like the way that God intended. What is God’s kingdom like? Read the Bible, spend time with God in prayer, and you will understand more of God’s desires and priorities. How do we “seek first the kingdom?” Do the next right thing that is front of you. Someone cuts you off in traffic? Take a deep breath and give them some space. Your kids didn’t finish chores that you expected them to do? (I’m writing to myself now) Remember the value of patience and kindness. You didn’t get accepted into the college you wanted to attend? You didn’t get an invitation to a certain event? You didn’t get a raise or a bonus? Your medical tests didn’t yield the results that you hoped? The stock market went the wrong way? Your neighbor left their trash cans in front of your driveway AGAIN?!? Does God have something to say regarding how we respond in these instances? I think so. See first the kingdom of God, and let the other stuff fall where it may. Since God has a plan for my life, I need to spend more time paying attention to God and less time getting angry or upset about other details.
Jesus speaks to the disciples and says, “Come, follow me.” Jesus walks alongside me every day and asks, “Well, are you coming?” In what ways is your response to God’s call a daily discipline? What are small acts of faithful obedience that have made a difference in your life? Please share some wisdom in the comments. We are all on this journey together.