I sometimes think we’ve turned the life of faith into some kind of religious X Games. When we think of people of great faith, we think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace, or Corrie ten Boom, who sheltered Jews and was ultimately imprisoned in the concentration camps during World War II; or maybe we even think of someone we’re acquainted with who has made a radical life change in order to enter a mission field or work in inner-city ministry.
I think we need to remember that God can also use acts of everyday courage and day-to-day faith. He honors the person who decides to love the person who others find unlovable. He exalts the individual who commits to being honest, no matter the personal consequences. He loves those who trust Him with their finances, even when things are tight and the future is unclear. He takes joy in the single mom who goes to one more job interview, even though she’s already heard “no” over and over again, because she is determined to improve her situation in life. These, too, are acts of faith that delight the heart of our Creator.
The decisions of everyday courage or faith may not be glamorous or noticeable. No one is going to post them on YouTube; but they take courage nonetheless. These are the decisions that have a huge impact on who we’re becoming.
Like many of you, these days I find myself in a place in life I never expected. It’s real easy to get caught up in questions or regrets in life while replaying tapes over and over. But I’m learning to just say, “Pete, today is a new day (His mercies are new every morning) and today you’re going to have many opportunities to just do the next right thing. Will you do them?”
It’s interesting how some of the best and biggest opportunities in your life will come at a time and in a way that you didn’t expect. You ever notice that? And a lot of times, the biggest and best things in your life will come through simple steps, just very, very simple steps. Just doing the next right thing.
Like in the Bible, when David killed Goliath, the only reason he was ever there that day was because his dad sent him to run an errand, and it was just by doing the next right thing that he ended up there to kill Goliath. He went on to become the greatest king Israel would ever know.
Moses, who delivered Israel from Egyptian slavery- the whole thing started when he was tending sheep for his father-in-law, working in his father-in-law’s sheep shop. A bush caught on fire, he turned aside to look, God spoke to him, called him, and he obeyed. He just did the next right thing. He took a step. He went on to become a deliverer and a leader of millions.
One of my favorites is in the New Testament, how Peter and his boys were fishing and caught nothing all night. Jesus showed up, told them to do it a different way, and when they did, they had such a large catch they couldn’t even haul in the nets. Then Jesus said, “I want you to leave your nets and follow Me.” And they did. When they got up to go fishing that day, they had no idea they were about to be drafted onto “Team Jesus” and would end up writing parts of the Bible. It started with a simple step.
Some of the greatest moments and experiences and seasons of your life will come when you least expect it, through a simple step.
So maybe today, instead of worrying about your past or dreading your future, you and I should just ask ourselves one simple question:
What’s the next right thing to do?
- In our parenting?
- In our dating?
- In our relationships?
- In our career?
What’s the next right thing to do? And take that step. Who knows what might be around the corner.