The woman took short steps propelled by the use of a cane. Head down. Gaze fixed on the uneven ground beneath her.
It was clear she was searching for something. Then came the familiar nudge. “Help her.” So many times, this nudge has prompted me to do things that seem a bit odd. I questioned whether this was one of those times. I accommodated the tugging of my heart and risked the awkward question.
“Can I help you find something?”
“No. Thank you. I’m just picking up rocks.”
This was not the answer I anticipated. No help needed. We were in the mountains. Rocks were everywhere. She explained that she had a habit of finding and polishing interesting rocks. We made small talk, as I nursed my silent conclusion, The nudge has done it again. Nothing to see here.
This is why I struggle with obedience to the Lord. I end up doing things that don’t seem to matter or even make sense, and I miss out on things that I feel do matter.
My ear for the Spirit must be impaired, I thought. Insecurity was speaking. Disappointment arose. This would have been a great time to recite Samuel’s words to King Saul, “To obey is better than sacrifice … rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft” (1 Samuel 15:22-23 KJV).
To obey is better than sacrifice … rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft.~1 Samuel 15:22-23 KJV
Perhaps then I would know I was released. I looked for a polite escape back to my life and agenda, but the lady and I soon became engrossed in conversation. We chatted for a while before God unveiled a tiny portion of His plan. The talk was merely a prelude to unveiling her real need. It simply made her feel comfortable enough to share it.
She, a fellow writer, was seeking a community of writers for accountability purposes. In fact, she had prayed for it. Amazingly, from hundreds of conference attendees representing many locations, she and I lived near each other. The writers’ group I attended was about midway between us.
I was able to connect her with our group, and I have been a grateful beneficiary of her regular attendance. Her words are otherworldly. She is rich in wisdom, and her pen oozes encouragement. When I approached her that day, I thought it was about me helping her. I was wrong. God knew that in the months ahead, I would need her counsel, her support, and her prayers as much as she needed mine.
She is a treasure.
This simple encounter was a reminder that our blessings are often tied to our obedience.
I wonder how many of them I’ve missed because I failed to obey the Lord. It is so easy to reason away the little things He asks of us. How quickly we forget that there are no little things with an almighty God. He works the miraculous with even the dust of the ground. The smallest things we offer Him can become the great wonders of our lives.
If you love me, you will keep my commandments.~John 14:15 ESV
It’s helpful for us to remember that His commandments are for us. They do please God, but they are for our benefit. This is true of everything God asks. No matter how grand, insignificant or difficult the task appears, it will glorify God when we obey the prompting of the Spirit, but it will also bless us.
God is love.
Love will never ask us to do anything that hasn’t considered our well-being. When we truly believe this, we heed His voice no matter how odd it appears. Jesus linked love to obedience. It is the only acceptable human response to divine love. It is also the genuine measure of our heart toward God.
Share an act of your obedience that led to an unexpected blessing.
Father God give me the courage to do the things You ask me to do. Help me to keep Your commandments and cause me to love You with my obedience.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Copyright 2019: Picking up Rocks: The Blessings of Obedience: Author Shanda Neighbors: All Rights Reserved