By Sarah Langness
One of the most significant moments in my walk with the Lord happened on a faded yellow movie-theater style chair in the Reusch Auditorium on the YMCA of the Rockies campus. The year was 2003 and I was enjoying the summer bliss following my freshman year of high school. The week at FLY was soon coming to a close; one of those weeks that seem so long on Monday but by Friday, you’re trying to find out how the days passed so quickly. I was gathered with other high school students listening to a message from a passage in Matthew 14:
“[Jesus] made the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side, while He sent the crowds away. After He had sent the crowds away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray . . . The boat was already a long distance from land, battered by the waves; for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night, He came to them, walking on the sea. When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, ‘It is a ghost!’ And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.’
Peter said to Him, ‘Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.’ And He said, ‘Come!’ And Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’ Immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and took hold of him, and said to him, ‘You of little faith, why did you doubt?'” – Matthew 14:22-31, NASB
That night, the speaker challenged us to be like Peter. To follow Jesus. To get out of the boat. To get out of our comfort zone.
I don’t remember if she specifically said anything about doing “big” things for Jesus or “exciting” or “crazy” things for His name; but I’ll never forget the prayer that I prayed. I committed my walk and my way to the Lord, promising that I would go wherever He sent me – even if it was in Africa.
Now, 11 years later, I sort of chuckle at that prayer. Well, maybe not chuckle. But I certainly shake my head.
Because I guarantee you that I never would have prayed, “Lord, I’ll do whatever it is You want me to do, even live in Beulah, North Dakota.” Who would? I mean, in those moments, in those prayers, we’re thinking BIG stuff. Exciting stuff. The kind of stuff that you read about in a Voice of the Martyr’s magazine or a Samaritan’s Purse Prayer Point bulletin insert. It’s the stuff that Katie Davis does in Uganda or the impact that Mother Theresa left. It’s the stuff that is seen, the stuff that is recognized and that fills us with a sense of awe and purpose.
I didn’t realize then – and have only begun to realize now – that following Jesus is done in the everyday, ordinary moments of life. That just because I’m “only” a stay-at-home mom and ministry wife doesn’t make what I do for the Kingdom any less significant. That following Jesus, getting out of the boat of our own comfort, is lots of little things.
It’s opening up my home and my heart to that new mom who feels alone.
It’s making a meal for that family who just experienced a loss.
It’s waking up countless times throughout the night to soothe a sick child.
It’s supporting my husband in his ministry even when it means he’s gone for the fourth night this week.
It’s considering the impact of my words before I speak them.
It’s setting aside my preferences to make time for others.
It’s holding my mouth shut when it really wants to spew that gossip or speak bad about someone.
It’s baking cookies for our bachelor neighbor – not just at Christmas.
It’s practicing patience when our little boy decides the bathtub is a scary place.
It’s not holding onto a hurtful grudge.
It’s redirecting funds in our budget to feed the hungry instead of buying myself another new pair of jeans.
It’s not being jealous of a close friendship between family members or friends.
It’s making my husband a chicken potpie even though I don’t really like potpies.
Serving the Lord in the everyday, ordinary moments of life probably won’t make ministry magazine headlines. In fact, it may even go unnoticed by the world. But following Jesus, serving Him, is done only for One. And it’s done one moment at a time.
“Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom who serve.” – Colossians 3:23-24, NASB (emphasis mine)
“Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into joy of your master.” – Matthew 25:21, NASB (emphasis mine)