Obedience is in the small things

The cup on the side of the road didn't look important, but it was.

Out walking with Winston one morning, I noticed the carelessly discarded trash .

And I walked right by.

As I did, the Holy Spirit said to my heart, "You should pick up the cup and put it in the next garbage can." It was trash day, and every house in my neighborhood had a green roll cart by the side of the road. Instead of obeying God's voice immediately, I kept walking. All the while an internal dialogue was going on in my heart.

"Lord," I said, "it's just a cup. Someone else will pick it up."

The words of James 4:17 from my Bible study that morning were simmering just under my consciousness, ready for the Holy Spirit's use, "Anyone, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

"But Lord," I continued, knowing the words "but" and "Lord" should never be used in the same sentence. "I've already passed it. I'd have to turn around to go back and get it."

The Holy Spirit then reached into the back pocket of my mind, which He has the full freedom to plunder, and pulled out a memory.

"Dr. Falwell used to pick up paper off the ground." Dr. Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University and the pastor of Thomas Road Baptist Church, was a mighty man of God. Students would tell of small acts of service they'd see him do when he thought no one was watching. Picking stray pieces of paper off the ground was one of them.

And if that mental picture wasn't enough, the Holy Spirit rummaged through my mental concordance and gleefully presented His coupe de grace, Luke 16:10:

 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much."

"Okay, Lord," I surrendered. I turned around, walked back, picked up the cup, and threw it into the trash can.

Henry Blackaby, in his devotional Experiencing God Day by Day, says "Your life is the sum of the responses you have made toward God. . . Whenever the Lord speaks to you, it will require an adjustment to your life" (102).

He contrasts the examples of the early disciples with that of the rich young ruler. "Why did God use Peter, James, and John so significantly to turn their world upside down? And why were others, like the rich young ruler, never heard from again? Choices! The disciples chose to believe, and their belief was proven by their obedience" (102).

This morning, it was important that I pick the cup up off the side of the road and throw it away. Not for the sake of the litter quotient in my neighborhood, but because the Lord told me to. If I train myself to recognize his voice, and then quickly obey what He tells me to do, even a small, seemingly insignificant act like picking a piece of trash off the side of the road will train me to say "yes" when He calls me to do something big for Him.

 "Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much."

I want to be like Peter, James, John, and Dr. Falwell and do great things for God. I suspect you do too.

I wonder what small act of obedience God will call us to today?

And will we obey?

In what small way is God calling you to obedience today? Leave me a comment below and tell me about it.



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  1. Love this post--from one Lori to another :)

  2. Kindred spirits, wouldn't you say? God bless you today!

  3. I had to smile when I read your words about the various ways God nudged you about picking up the cup, remembering the times He has prodded me. Your blog is so timely, Lori. Right now, He is again speaking to my heart.

  4. I'm thankful He doesn't just say things once, aren't you?! :)

  5. An excellent reminder, Lori. Thank you! :)

    1. Thanks for visiting, Susan, and thanks for commenting :) God bless!

  6. Years ago I heard a Christian mom talk about teaching her children to pick up things that dropped from racks in the store so they wouldn't be stepped on and damaged. And I find the Spirit prompts me to do this when I walk past something on the floor. Can't say I've picked up trash on the streets, but it was a good/God idea. The writer in me loved your phrase "The Holy Spirit then reached into the back pocket of my mind" : )

  7. And the writer in me appreciates that you noticed it :) Thanks for encouraging me in many ways and being iron sharpening my iron.

  8. James 4:17, not James 4:7. :)

  9. I was real glad to read your post. I don't have a problem obeying God with big things. It's the small things that I tend not to respond to. It bothers me since I know it's wrong and that my relationship with God is important to me.I was reminded of a scripture that say, disobedience is as grave as witchcraft. That scripture you posted' who can be trusted with little can be trusted with much. I think I will post that on my wall.

  10. I was real glad to read your post. It seems that I don't have a problem obeying GOD with the big things but I do the small. Why do you think that is? That scripture you quoted' if you can be trusted with the small things you can be trusted with much. Think I will put that on my wall.

  11. Oh, Lisa, you expressed the struggle of so many of our hearts. Thanks so much for sharing today. May God bless your socks off as you obey him in the big AND the small. :)