When was the last time you picked up a used cigarette off the ground to throw in the trash? Too gross? Ok, how about a smashed soda can? Old twist tie? Piece of Styrofoam?
Within the first few days of the new year I had my first test. I was coming to the end of my run and I happened to look at the side of the road, (isn’t it funny how sometimes things “happen”?). A small piece of paper (or Kleenex) lay there staring up at me as I passed. That little voice inside my head started talking and told me to turn around and go back and pick it up. Ew gross. After inspecting it for grossness, it looked clean enough so I obeyed. I felt good. Until two seconds later, my eye caught another piece of garbage. “Pick it up.” This happened several more times, until finally, I attempted to maintain eye contact with the road far ahead of me, just in case there might be something more to grab. At this point, I already had a flattened soda can that acted as a tray for all my other “collectibles.” It didn’t work, as the voice, which I knew to be God’s, told me once more to look down and gather the rubbish.
Arriving at my driveway balancing the little sculpture, I hustled up the slight incline, focused intently on the garbage can. I had never been so happy to see that big, green can. After dumping the trash, anxious to wash my hands, that little voice spoke again. Really? I looked down and saw small pieces of broken wood and other bits that had for whatever reason missed the garbage can, which sat, I might add, only inches away. Okay, God, I understand. I’ll pick them up. All of them.
During my clean-up time God showed me something. He showed me that this test was to see if I would be able to take care of the small things in front of me, before giving me anything larger. He very clearly asked, “how can I trust you with people’s souls if I can’t trust you to take care of the garbage right in front of you.” Ouch.
Does It Matter What We Think? God has a plan for me, just like He has a plan for each one of us. But are we willing to deal with the messy stuff of life in our everyday paths? Or, to put it the way Lucinda Secrest McDowell asks in her book Life-Giving Choices, “Is God worth our obedience, even in the toughest of times?” If the answer is no, or not sure, how can we be ready to fulfill all the other great things He has waiting for us?
After cleaning up my yard, I did a little celebration dance. Yep, I did. Why? Because I passed my first test of the new year and it felt so good. God is worth our obedience, even when cleaning up garbage. I encourage you today to join me and focus on being obedient—then wait and see God move!