But David said to Saul, “Your servant has been keeping his father’s sheep.” — 1 Samuel 17:34
My first job after college was in financial sales. This may not seem disturbing until I tell you that I made a D in my only nance class in college. I apologize to anyone whose 401(k) is all jacked up thanks to my lack of basic investment knowledge. However, that job did teach me how to make an effective presentation, which led to a better job in pharmaceutical sales. And ultimately, both of those jobs, neither of which were my passion, ended up preparing me for the public speaking I do now. Apparently people assume that if you write books, you should also speak. The point is, God used those things in my life that seemed insignificant to prepare me for the ministry He has called me to, which makes me realize that
God often teaches us the most important lessons and skills in obscurity.
When you look at the life of David, it was in the pasture, tending sheep, where David learned to be king, not on a throne. He learned how to lead and be tender. He learned responsibility, he learned how to be a provider and a protector, and he learned how to throw a stone. And most important, he sat in the quiet places with God and learned how big our God is and how deep His love.
David never forgot this lesson, and it’s what made him a man after God’s own heart. David knew how deeply he was loved, and that knowledge brought him to redemption and repentance every time he messed up. When we read the 23rd Psalm written by David, we can see how much he learned about who God is in the quiet pastures of his life.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
A calling from God requires our cooperation to wait on His timing, knowing that God is teaching us and shaping us in preparation for the tasks He has ahead for us. We tend to emphasize the big because we have forgotten the value of the small. God sees our everyday tasks as sacred work. We are His hands and feet in this world. That smile you give to the grocery store cashier, that diaper you’re changing, and that carpool you’re driving? They all matter.
We have so many questions and so much confusion about God’s will for our lives, but here’s the thing: you are in God’s will when you are doing all the things you do every day to serve the people around you. You are in God’s will when you wake up in the morning with a heart that says you’ll go where He leads today and ask to see Him in the ordinary.
Os Guiness says, “Grand Christian movement will rise and fall. Grand campaigns will be mounted and grand coalitions assembled. But all together such coordinated efforts will never match the in uence and untold numbers of followers of Christ living out their callings faithfully across the vastness and complexity of modern society.”
Little things add up to big things in God’s economy.
Will we be faithful when no one is watching? Will we be faithful even when we don’t feel like it? Because our feelings will come and go, but His love for us won’t. Just because I have days when I don’t feel in love with my husband doesn’t mean he ceases to exist or to be my provider and protector. How much truer is this with God?
It’s in the quiet places where we can receive a fresh word and hear His voice.
And it’s a fresh word that keeps us from becoming self-righteous and believing we know all there is to know about ourselves and God and the world around us. His voice is our daily bread. The manna that sustains us. And just like manna, it is new every morning.
We are surrounded by distractions, but we need to take time to listen for God’s voice. It’s often the thing that gets drowned out. God sometimes speaks the loudest in the quietest, most seemingly insignificant places in our lives, and we’ll learn from Him only when we remember that God uses every bit of our lives for His glory and His purposes. Never underestimate how He is using you while you’re sitting in a cubicle or washing another load of dirty towels to make a difference.
Excerpted with permission from Everyday Holy by Melanie Shankle, copyright Melanie Shankle.
* * *
Maybe what you’re doing today, where you are today, what’s on your plate… feels small and unimportant. And yet, it matters! God is preparing you and drawing close to you in what may seem like obscurity. Now is the time to be faithful! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full