The Challenge of Being Faithful Is Found in the Little Things
Devotional THought of the Day:
37 “If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. 38 If you refuse to take up your cross and follow me, you are not worthy of being mine. 39 If you cling to your life, you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it. Matthew 10:37-39 (NLT)
24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24 (NLT)
204 Many who would let themselves be nailed to a cross before the astonished gaze of thousands of spectators won’t bear the pinpricks of each day with a Christian spirit! But think, which is the more heroic? (1)
You hear of the mother of the martyrs, who would share a meal with those who killed her son, and you are amazed.
You hear of the missionaries, who risk their lives, serving those with ebola, or aids, or in places where war is more common than peace, where churches are burnt.
You hear of men and women, giving up lucrative careers, to serve in the ministry, trading comfortable lives fro those who are suffering.
You read the book of Acts and see Peter and Paul, Stephen, Phillip, Dorcas, and the wife and husband team of Priscilla and Aquila doing miracles, preaching to great crowds, ministering to others in ways that reveal the Spirit of God is in them, and you are amazed.
Then you comment that you could never have faith like that, that you admire it, but you know that you cannot be that faithful.
You are wrong.
Faithfulness isn’t about trusting in God to only do the miraculous, and the awe-inspiring. Faithfulness is tougher than that, because faithfulness isn’t measured by an event, or a moment in time, faithfulness is measured by a life that is lived under the burden of the cross.
Faithfulness is about living in the presence of God, no matter what the circumstances. To be aware of those around us, and be willing to sacrifice to help them. To be willing to spend the time to not only note sin and the damage it causes, but to be able to speak of the healing that God’s forgiveness brings. To think before we speak, understanding not only what we want to communicate, but who we are communicating that message to, so that we can speak with love, so that lives will be healed. To live under the cross means that we give up trying to justify our sins, or the sins of those we love, but we set the example, running to the throne of grace.
To live under the cross, to strive for holiness on our own merits seems difficult, challenging, impossible.
But it was never meant to be just our work.
This is why we’ve been given the Holy Spirit, who works in our lives through God’s word, through the sacraments, those sacred times when we breathe, and know we are in the presence of God.
The heroic life of faith is one revealed by a change in behavior in the little things. The words we use, the attitudes we have towards others, the willingness to sacrifice, not in the big things, but in the little things. Be patient with the antagonist, spending time loving your adversaries, and praying for those who annoy the hell out you. (they actually do this if you have to run to the Father to find the strength to endure them!)
Even though the faithful life is revealed by these things, it originates in the time we spend with God. In the moments where we realize His love at work in us. We grow in faithfulness when we run to Him, rather than deal with things on our own. Faithfulness is about our relationship with Him. Knowing He is with us, and so cherishing the time that we make the time to spend it with Him. Treasuring that time,
Be faithful in what the world considers “little”. Walk with God, hear His voice, encourage people, lift them up. Take up that cross, it isn’t as heavy as you thought. In fact, you might just enjoy it, when you realize you carry it in His presence.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2010-11-02). The Way (Kindle Locations 587-588). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.