He tells the story that, as he left home to go back to college after the holidays one year, his grandmother slipped a $100 bill into his pocket. He was excited about what he could buy with the money as a poor college student until he landed at the airport near his college and was waiting for his ride to pick him up.
A woman pulled up in a run-down vehicle, which then died and would not restart. Rich clearly heard God say to him (three times) that he needed to give the woman the $100 bill. Begrudgingly he walked over to the woman and offered her the money.
He expected the heavens to be rejoicing and a response worthy of the generosity he was displaying. Instead, the woman declined the money and told him she was just fine. She said she had plenty of money. He pushed back and insisted that she take the money – God had told him to go give it. She again declined.
He was stunned. He couldn’t understand why God’s clear direction to him did not produce the result he expected.
Until he felt God say, “I just needed to know you would obey me, regardless of what the outcome was.”
Have you ever been called to obedience?
God called you to…
- A different job – but you don’t see any impact you’re having, and it seems pointless.
- Start a small group to create community – but people aren’t showing up.
- Start dating again after a divorce – but every person you go out with is a dud.
- Be relentless in your prayer for a particular person’s salvation – but they seem to be drifting further from the faith, and you want to give up.
- Help someone who needs a leg up – but they aren’t making any progress.
“I just need to know you will be obedient before me, regardless of what the outcome will be.”
I don’t know what the situation is for you, but for me, I have had very few times in my life where I’ve felt a crystal clear sense of what God is calling me to do. Before I started writing for Forbes about millennials in the workplace, God continually pressed on my heart to speak to the millennial generation, and I was to do it immediately.
I couldn’t sleep at night or focus during the day – it was all I could think about. God wanted my urgency in following His command.
Much like Rich’s response, I expected heaven to rejoice over my urgent response and enthusiasm. I expected lives to change and people to respond.
Instead, I have mostly seen silence.
My natural response has been, “God, why have you called me to do this if it isn’t for anyone?”
Perhaps His response to me would be:
“Will you obey me, even if nobody ever read the words you wrote?”
In the Old Testament, God spoke to Joshua as he brought his army to try to take the city of Jericho. He said,
“See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” – Joshua 6:2-5
You must realize here that this is an army, not a marching band. The idea of only marching around the walls instead of charging the gateway to the city must have seemed crazy!
Related Post: Patience Means Waiting [Not Creating Your Own Path]
At some point during the marching, I wonder if Joshua thought, “Have you really brought me here just to walk around the walls? Is this it God?”
Imagine if he had not fully obeyed God’s command.
What area do you need to give complete obedience to God’s call on your life? Are you considering giving up because you don’t see any fruit for your labor? Are you willing to fully obey even if you never see the result you expect?
As Rich said in his sermon, “I plant the seed. I water it. Only God can grow it.”