He sat across the table from me at a Subway and retold a story that had changed his life. As he recalled the struggle of climbing Mt. Fuji in the dark and being one of the few to make it to the top as the sun rose over the land of the rising sun, his voice cracked slightly and his eyes became intense. It was a pivotal point in his life when God revealed to him the millions of people that were living in darkness and without hope. God had put a passion in him on that mountain that would change the rest of his life.
I realized two things that day: first, I’m not losing any weight eating at Subway, and second, I hate stories like that. I hate stories like that pretty much because I don’t have a story like that.
Most of us haven’t stood on a windswept mountaintop where, in an instant, God laid out the purpose of our lives. And, while God seems to speak to some as loud as a trumpet blast, for most of us, the still, small voice of God is just that: very still and very small. And so we sit, ears strained, trying to hear God, just in case He might say something to us … anything.
Super-spiritual people point to Moses, who sat around staring at bushes for 40 years until he was ready to be used by God. Or Abraham, who was one billion years old before God followed through with His promise of starting a nation through him. And in response, I nod my head in understanding, but inside my heart is breaking. Will it really be that long before God gives me something significant to do? Before He gives me a purpose? When will I arrive?
In the meantime, I continue my spiritual journey in the backseat, pestering God. “Am I there yet? Am I there yet? How much longer?”
Jesus told a story about a boss who, before leaving on a long journey, entrusted his employees with varying amounts of cash with the idea that there would be a good return on his investment. You will recall that two of the employees doubled the money, while the last guy buried what he had for fear he’d lose it all. But what is really striking in that story is the line that is repeated several times: “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”
Maybe I want to change the world, but have I changed my apartment building? My neighborhood? My church? Even myself? Have I taken a backseat in my spiritual journey, waiting for “the” moment to arrive while thousands of moments pass me by?
T.S. Eliot said, “We had the experience, but missed the meaning.” Every day God places experiences before us. Most of them are small and easy to miss, but they are packed with enough meaning and significance to change lives. The key is being faithful with a few things.
Four Quartets, T. S. Eliot[Dan is the Director of Media Services for a missions organization located in Indianapolis. He is 35 years old—one year past the target demographic of Relevant—but very much a 34-year-old at heart.]