Great. Powerful. Brilliant. Courageous. Underrated. Pioneering.
Nice adjectives, huh?
Great descriptors of a great follower of Christ.
So, a little transparency here…Those words are an answer to a question that the Father asked me as I was journaling through Anonymous by Alicia Britt Chole (again). The question was, what are the words I want spoken about me? And these were the first ones that popped into my head.
Sigh. You know what words did not immediately pop into my head?
Sacrificial. Servant-like. Faithful. Plodding. Loving.
And with that one exercise, the truth came flooding to the surface yet again: that glaring heart issues still rage underneath my commitment to Him, my desire to love Him and serve Him and please Him above everything else.
The striving to be GREAT.
Mother Teresa said, “We can do no great things, only small things with great love.” That came from a woman who eventually won the Noble Peace Price for her service, but who first served the most impoverished, most devalued people in her country for decades before anyone seemed to notice.
Am I waiting around for great things, or am I doing the small things with great love?
I love the way The Message illustrates how and when God tagged David for leadership. In 1 Samuel 16:1 he says to Samuel, “So, how long are you going to mope over Saul? You know I’ve rejected him as king over Israel. Fill your flask with anointing oil and get going. I’m sending you to Jesse of Bethlehem. I’ve spotted the very king I want among his sons.”
God had spotted David…where? In a prep school for bright young men destined for leadership in the nation of Israel? In the military where he may have gotten actual training for the knowledge of war that a king in that day would need? In a training on diplomatic relations and how to choose the best advisors? Nope. David was in a field. His own father hadn’t even valued him highly enough to bring him in when he heard Samuel was coming over. No one was grooming him to be king. As a teenage boy he was writing songs to God, playing his harp, and caring for sheep and goats (that is not a metaphor)…and God spotted him.
In that field, before he had ever done any of the things he is so famous for, God saw him. Not his competencies to be king, because he really didn’t have any yet. No, God saw his worship, his contentment, and his obedience. And in His infinite wisdom, He knew that this boy would one day be the greatest king the nation of Israel has ever had.
You know another place we don’t see David? We don’t see him in the hallway, peeking through a crack in the door, posturing himself to be seen by Samuel as he walked by. David, I believe, had no desire or need for greatness. We never see him inserting himself before men and women with authority or influence. He just went where the Lord told him, and cared for who He gave him. One day it was sheep, another it was “losers and vagrants and misfits of all sort” (1 Samuel 22:2), and another it was millions of people who looked to him to lead them both in their government and worship of God.
David did small things with great love.
He probably wouldn’t have been anyone else’s first choice for king. No one saw him but God…and it worked out pretty well.
It all started in a field.
So God, take away that desire in us to be great. Help us to do small things with great love, to know that even if no one else sees us or knows our names, You can see us in a field caring for sheep. And then one day, we might turn around and realize that the great things came anyway, because we loved You enough to lay them down.