Tag: Daniel

Why it’s Important to Make Your Bed

If you’ve read this blog for any time at all, you know I am captivated by the idea of “small things”. I’ve always thought of this in the sense of doing small acts of service, or giving words of encouragement – the widow of Zarephath showing up with her tiny bit of flour and oil, or Jesus choosing dropouts for disciples, or Namaan dipping in the water – things that seem counter to the world’s economy.

But recently I heard a sermon, and I’ve been thinking of Zechariah 4:10 differently. It brought to mind a story from a couple years ago when, during a commencement speech at the University of Texas, the commander of the forces that organized the raid to kill Osama bin Laden told the graduates:

The U.S. Navy Admiral went on to say:

“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. 

Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” 

Instead of thinking about “small things” as stewardship or service, I’ve been thinking of it as the small commitments to disciplines that God can use to equip us or train us, having exponential impact.

Jeff Manion writes,

“Greatness is rarely achieved by doing great things, but by doing good things repeatedly” 

For Daniel, “making his bed” was the discipline of refusing to eat the royal food.

Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved  not to defile himself with the royal food and wine…”

On the surface this discipline might just seem dumb. Who doesn’t like Lou Malnati’s pizza and Ben and Jerry’s ice cream? But this wasn’t just about being healthy. It was about not eating food that had been sacrificed to idols. For Daniel, this discipline reminded him who was the most powerful in his life and it wasn’t the king.

For David, “making his bed” was the discipline (long before Goliath) of faithfully remaining – guarding stinky, muddy sheep while his brothers were off doing the fun stuff fighting the bad guys. While pursuing this unseen discipline God was preparing him for more.

1 Samuel 17:37 The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine.”

My friends inspire me in this area of discipline.

For one who has just endured a painful break-up, “making his bed” has meant the discipline of not drinking at all for a time because he recognizes his temptation to numb with alcohol in this season.

For another friend, Mycah, “making her bed” is the discipline of Sabbathing.  And the thing that strikes me about her, is that it didn’t start with the “small thing” of Sabbath. It started with the smaller discipline of not using social media on Fridays, and then not working on Fridays, and then turning her phone off from Thursday night to Saturday morning.

Still another friend talked to me about “making her bed” as the discipline of gratitude in a season of hard circumstances.

We don’t “make our bed” in order to gain God’s attention or favor. He’s crazy about us, messy bed and all.  Grace, grace, and more grace is the bedrock of our relationship with Him! Instead, I like Doug Rumford’s definition of discipline:

“A means to develop soul memory for reflexive spiritual responsiveness.”

What are the small disciplines God wants to use to train you? Are there ways you see that physical discipline impacts spiritual discipline?

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11

 

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Invitations of the Scary Kind

I wrote yesterday about how I don’t see myself usually as the cowabunga-bungee-jumping for Jesus type.

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But I am trying to be a person that responds to whatever God invites me into.

Sometimes that’s leaning in to hear a whisper and being obedient in one of the million small invitations from God in daily life.

But sometimes there are big scary invites that take us off-guard.

They are as clear as a public marriage proposal booming over the loud-speaker at the Twins Stadium.  And that can be the most disconcerting kind.

So when I got a request to go teach a class to seminary students in middle-of-nowhere-rural Northern Kenya I wanted to put on Bose head phones to drown it out. (Yes. They are clearly desperate.)

I’ve never taught a seminary course and I’ll be alone without John, my best coach in all things challenging.  So the refrain in my head is “Ican’t/I’mnot/Ican’t/I’mnot…”

But like I’ve written before, I’m not, but He is.  And I really can’t ignore this, even though it makes me quake in my boots (or in my TOMS as the case may be).

And I’m inspired by some friends of mine who are responding to an much bigger crazy invite…adopting two orphans from the D.R.C.  You know, Congo, where there’s been horrendous gender violence (that means rape and worse) and warfare and the perfect storm of natural disaster, poverty, and evil.  And yes, you read right.  Two, yes two kids, with two more at home.

This is a big invitation that God has confirmed in both their hearts from the time they were dating until now.  Through scary developments and uncertainty they are trusting God to knit together a loving family of American born biological kids with Congolese babies abandoned out of desperation.

But there are also invitations of a different kind.  Big invitations to rest, that come in the form of end-of-your-rope-exhaustion and require you to say “no” may be just as scary and as the invitations to jump.

Here’s the thing…I don’t think we’re ready to say “yes” to any of the “bigger”, riskier things unless we’ve said “yes’ on the days of small things.

Would David have been ready to say “yes” to God’s invitation to fight Goliath, if he hadn’t said “yes” to the ordinary, boring, everyday stuff of protecting his sheep before that?

Would Elijah have had the courage to say “yes” to a showdown with the prophets of Baal if he hadn’t trusted God to provide food and water before that?

Would Daniel have been prepared to defy Darius when push came to shove if he hadn’t quietly been honoring God daily before that?

So as I prepare to send the email responding to the loud scary-big invite in my life, I’m trying to say “yes” to the whispers of today.  And I’m praying for my dear friends on their journey to respond to Jesus’ invite to come pick up two toddlers in Congo.

Are there ways you’ve seen God use everyday whisper invitations to prepare you for loud riskier ones?

© 2017 Laura Crosby

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