I feel so blessed to do the work that I do. In my role at ECSW, I get to co-write materials that invite people into a deeper relational experience with God and one another. These works have the potential of reaching people around the world. And as director of our ESDA ministry, I get to promote and support the important work of hundreds of spiritual directors as they seek to serve the church far and wide. After spending my early career working in the marketplace, I know what a special privilege it is to have my daily focus be on work that seeks to expand God’s Kingdom.

And, yet, when I was talking with God in the middle of the night last night, the invitation He laid before me was not wide reaching or grandiose. It was something simple, quiet and personal. Strangely, I noticed that a great temptation arose in me to let it slide, to simply brush this invitation aside as less urgent or necessary compared to the “important” work I am called to do. And if I chose not to follow God’s leading in this, I thought, no one would even know, except for me and God. My reaction caused me to wonder if smaller acts of obedience can often be more difficult to fulfill than larger ones.

The next morning, I read about Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness in Luke 4. I began to empathize with how difficult the first temptation must have been to refuse. When the devil suggested that Jesus turn a stone into bread in order to satisfy His hunger, it was an inconspicuous suggestion compared to the other two, which involved grand gestures with world-wide and universal impact. Perhaps for Jesus, too, it was the obscurity of the situation that made the first idea as great a temptation as the other two. Jesus was alone in the middle of nowhere. No one would see Him use His miraculous power to satisfy His deeply felt personal need. I could imagine Satan goading Jesus by adding, “Who would it hurt anyway?”

I know that a lot of us long to glorify God in ways that will change the world, so it’s easy to focus on the big opportunities. But as Jesus Himself notes in Luke 16:10, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.” No wonder I felt such a strong temptation to ignore what God had called me to! Again, Jesus flips our common understandings upside down: the high becomes low and the low becomes high.

What if the most important choices we could make would be to follow Jesus in the smallest ways, the most obscure, down the quietest paths where no one sees except our Father who is in Heaven? In the truth of this reality, I stop and pause to assess my priorities anew.

Lord, help me to love you and others in small ways, for even in that I need Your help. Amen.