“But be doers of the word, and not only hearers, deluding your own selves.” James 1:22
This seems to be the scriptural theme for my day. Knowing what to do, but not doing it. The addict that can teach the class on what to do, but can’t apply it outside of treatment. The child who knows the information, but refuses to do the work. The people who pray, but are not prepared for the answer. Those who take in the Word, but don’t apply it.
I admit, I’ve been in everyone of those scenarios in my personal life at some point. I know what to do. I am choosing not to do it. I allow excuses to get in the way. I justify my non action convincingly.
Other times, I know I get stuck in my head. I reason and analyze too much. Then I allow myself to take a back seat in what God is wanting to do. I am reminded of someone who shared that their small group read through the gospels. They decided each time they came across a command to do something, they would stop reading until they had done it.
I also realize, sometimes I discredit what I am doing because it doesn’t look like “church ministry.” The Lord says:
“Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father, through him.” Colossians 3:17
I paused to think about many insignificant moments recorded in the Bible. The story of Rahab, a prostitute could definitely not in the ministry of God. Her actions seemed small in the moment.
“Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there. The king of Jericho was told, “Behold, men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.” Jericho’s king sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.” The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. About the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly. You may catch up with them.” But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. The men pursued them along the way to the fords of the Jordan River. As soon as those who pursued them had gone out, they shut the gate. Before they had lain down, she came up to them on the roof. She said to the men, “I know that Yahweh has given you the land, and that the fear of you has fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land melt away before you. For we have heard how Yahweh dried up the water of the Red Sea before you, when you came out of Egypt; and what you did to the two kings of the Amorites, who were beyond the Jordan, to Sihon and to Og, whom you utterly destroyed. As soon as we had heard it, our hearts melted, and there wasn’t any more spirit in any man, because of you: for Yahweh your God, he is God in heaven above, and on earth beneath. Now therefore, please swear to me by Yahweh, since I have dealt kindly with you, that you also will deal kindly with my father’s house, and give me a true sign; and that you will save alive my father, my mother, my brothers, and my sisters, and all that they have, and will deliver our lives from death.” The men said to her, “Our life for yours, if you don’t talk about this business of ours; and it shall be, when Yahweh gives us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with you.” Then she let them down by a cord through the window; for her house was on the side of the wall, and she lived on the wall. She said to them, “Go to the mountain, lest the pursuers find you. Hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers have returned. Afterward, you may go your way.”” Joshua 2:1-16
We know that the spies made it safely back to Joshua and that they kept their promise. Rahab married into the House of Judah and is listed in the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew 1. When you look down the line of history, it was counted to Rahab as faith.
“By faith, Rahab the prostitute, didn’t perish with those who were disobedient, having received the spies in peace.” Hebrews 11:31
I think about Esther being prepared for the king for a year (Esther 2). And her making dinner for the king and Haman twice (Esther 5-6) These are seemingly insignificant, and yet she saved her people with these actions.
Or Ruth picking up scraps in the field of Boaz.“Ruth the Moabitess said to Naomi, “Let me now go to the field, and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” She went, and came and gleaned in the field after the reapers; and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech.” Ruth 2:2-3
And then laying at the feet of Boaz. “Therefore wash yourself, anoint yourself, get dressed, and go down to the threshing floor, but don’t make yourself known to the man until he has finished eating and drinking. It shall be, when he lies down, that you shall note the place where he is lying. Then you shall go in, uncover his feet, and lay down. Then he will tell you what to do.” She said to her, “All that you say, I will do.” She went down to the threshing floor, and did everything that her mother-in-law told her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain. She came softly, uncovered his feet, and laid down. At midnight, the man was startled and turned himself; and behold, a woman lay at his feet. He said, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Ruth your servant. Therefore spread the corner of your garment over your servant; for you are a near kinsman.”” Ruth 3:3-9
She is listed in the genealogy of Jesus found in Matthew 1. “Salmon became the father of Boaz by Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed by Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse.” Matthew 1:5
I think about the disciples in the upper room. “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mountain called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they had come in, they went up into the upper room, where they were staying; that is Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord continued steadfastly in prayer and supplication, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers.” Acts 1:12-14 and “Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place. Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak.” Acts 2:1-4 Actions that birthed the modern Church.
We look at these events from a historical view, we know the outcome. In the moment though, these are things that they could have considered insignificant. They are events we just let pass us by. They seem like “no big deal.”
How many history makers have I let pass me by because I was not obedient to do it in the moment? We can’t ever know what impact a small thing will have on eternity.
The child in the Sunday school class were to stretched to teach, may be the next great evangelist. The drug addicted homeless woman might be the one God uses to birth the next great revival. The man in prison for murder, might be the father of the little boy who will one day plant the church where your great grandchild will be saved. The world is full of these type of stories.
Yet, if we are not faithful doers of the Word, how will the list be reached? Will people see our lives as something to be desired? Or will they be pushed away because it looks no different than theirs? Will our life connect to the child, the prisoner, or the homeless addict to bring them to Christ, and possibly change history?
We have to do what we know to do. We have to be willing to be inconvenienced by God with the opportunities He places before us. We have to be willing to do the small things because we never know what big things they can lead to. We can doubt. We can’t reason and excuse. We can’t minimize. We just need to obediently do.
Prayer – Lord, I know at times I have sat idly by and not acted on what you told me to do. Forgive me for times that I have discounted my obedience thinking such a small thing doesn’t matter. Forgive me for when I have reasoned and doubted instead of just acting.Please redeem those moments. Give those people I missed, someone in their lives that will point them back to You. I want to be a doer of Your Word, big and small from here forward!