Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Small Acts of Obedience

He saw at the water's edge two boats, left there by the fisherman, who were washing their nets. He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat. When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, "Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch." Simon answered, "Master, we've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets." (Luke 5:2-5) Simon Peter didn't realize that his small act of obedience would be a life changing event. He didn't understand why Jesus wanted him to let down the nets, but he obeyed anyway. How many times have I heard God's voice and ignored it? How many times have I disobeyed God? How many times have I missed an opportunity to discover my calling? Sunday evening my husband, my daughter and I left our house a little early to go to our church's evening service. We stopped at McDonald's to get a small dinner. While waiting to order in the drive thru we discussed what we should get our 2 year old daughter. We always get her a chicken nugget Happy Meal, but this time I was only going to get her french fries because she never eats the nuggets anyway. I changed my mind at the last minute and ordered the chicken nugget Happy Meal with a sweat tea. Of course, just as I suspected, she didn't eat the chicken nuggets, or drink the sweet tea. About 10 minutes into our drive, we saw an older black gentleman riding a bicycle along the side of the road. He was dirty and thin. His bicycle had a basket attached to the back that held a few pieces of clothing and a fishing pole. As soon as I saw him I could tell he was homeless. I said to my husband, "Now that is a homeless man I'd want to help." (Our area is notorious for pan-handlers that pretend to be homeless) Before I could get the words out of my mouth I felt God's impression on my heart. God was telling me to give the old man the chicken nuggets. I had also been carrying around a $5 bill for weeks. I never have cash on me, and the fact that I carried it around for weeks is a miracle in itself. Without even thinking about the cash I reached into my purse and grabbed it. I asked my husband to stop the car. I rolled the window down and got the man's attention. I handed him the chicken nuggets with the $5 bill on top. He smiled at me thanked me several times and wasted no time digging into the child size box of chicken nuggets. We started to drive off when I remembered the sweet tea my daughter didn't drink. I jumped out of the car and ran to the man with the sweet tea in hand. I cannot fully express the feeling that came over me when I gave him the tea and he smiled at me. I saw Jesus in this man's smile. I caught a tiny glimpse of eternity and a tiny glimpse of the emotion Jesus feels for each one of us. At that moment, when the old man smiled, I felt great joy, overwhelming compassion, and painful heartache. I wanted more than ANYTHING to give this man EVERYTHING. Just as Simon Peter did not realize that his small act of obedience would lead him to be a fisher of men and an eyewitness to the gospel of Jesus Christ, I did not realize that my small act of obeying God's voice would give me a clear vision of what God has called me to do. My small act of obedience allowed me to be used by God for this man's provision. My small act of obedience allowed me to see Jesus and experience a tiny glimpse of eternity. My small act of obedience changed my life. I will never forget that old man's face. I will never forget the emotion that came over me. This old homeless man touched my life more than I touched his that day. God gave me the confirmation that I was seeking. He showed me a small sliver of my purpose and the path He laid out for me. As I continue to obey Him, He will continue to reveal his plans for me one sliver at a time.