I think of Noah, outside for days, weeks, months performing a task that everyone obviously found pointless, ridiculous and most likely offensive. The tenacity, perseverance, bravery and hope (fear?) that must have motivated this man not to waver.
Sure, many will point out that he heard from God, so of course he was motivated. To that I offer you a big fat HA! We’ve all heard from God, HELLO! He’s all around us, and in us. He’s given us His word, His spirit, His name yet we flounder and rebel.
No, it takes a certain kind of person, an obedient one to fulfill the call of God on his life.
Am I bragging? A wee bit. I can at least say that the Lord spoke to me and I listened and I obeyed. I heeded the call to pick up my cross and as my reward God gave me my very own ark to build.
While here are occasions where it all truly feels that grandiose, most of the time I just feel like a very tiny, insignificant speck laboring endlessly, performing the same task day after day, hoping against hope that one day I might actually contribute to God’s awe-inspiring redemptive work on this miserable planet.
I remember in my late teens hanging out with my church friends discussing the future. We all had dreams of serving the Lord, of being missionaries, even of being martyrs. Everyone of us convinced we were destined to spiritual greatness. We were the generation that was going to revolutionize the church, no, Christianity itself!
While I was grateful for these friends, I always felt all alone. This puzzled me because I was at church or a church-related function almost nightly and I felt very close to Jesus from the start. Years later when I would run into many of these old friends only to see how many of them had all but walked away from the faith of their youth, I would remember that loneliness and feel it all the more.
We were now grown up, cynical husbands, parents, divorcees and slaves to a system we thought we could avoid. Everyone worked harder and longer than they desired-mostly at jobs they hated and all of us, in one fashion or another, had been burned by the church.
Why this compelled me to draw closer to the Lord may be the key to how my entire life has played out. See, I truly met Jesus in the 80’s and it was love at first sight. He never bailed on me like practically everyone in my life. He spent time with me, taught me everything I know and guided me to choices that would lead to my happiness and fulfillment despite being trapped in a body that chronically wars against Him, despite being trapped on a planet that has rejected Him.
I’ve never equated the behavior of His people to my feelings about who He is because I know Him and I can only assume that the energy and effort He has put into to try and reach, mold, guide and bless me, He has done the same with all of you.
What we’ve done with it may be what’s different. For I am convinced that I am making a difference. One day, one person, one song and one sermon at a time I am fulfilling my call from God and (on a secular level) affecting change in how people view others and, most importantly, (on a spiritual level) not a day goes by that I don’t remind someone how important they are to God and how important God needs to be to them.
When my friend Leaha wrote the poem that was to become There Is Hope, I am convinced she believed wholeheartedly that one person’s obedience to the Lord could exact mighty change in this wicked world. We sing at Christmas, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Nothing strange, corny or mystical about that. Right?
Act different, be different, see others act and be different. As Christians this should be fundamentally obvious but as long as we gauge our value (and sadly God’s value) on the presentation of sinners we are foolish enough to trust, admire and I fear idolize, we’re doomed to dissatisfaction and failure.