What Does It Mean To Be Obedient? by Keith Niager, LCSW
Only ten people showed up. You see, I had been asked to speak at a local church. I had prepared for several hours and only ten people showed up. One of them was a two-year-old. I had big plans for this speaking engagement (it was my own definition of “big plans”).
This was at a time when the Barnabas Center needed funds. We had bills coming up, taxes due, payroll, etc… We had not compromised our benevolent fund; no one was turned away due to their inability to pay. I was told there would be a love offering taken up after my message. Are you getting the picture? I had high hopes for this speaking engagement.
Only ten people showed up. I remember when the duet (1/5th of the congregation) was singing and praying. My prayer was one of panic, confusion, and to be honest, anger. This was going to be my answer to prayer. After all, we had such needs! Shouldn’t God bless this after all I had done? I expected the place to be packed (well at least 30 people). KFC buckets overflowing with money lives being touched by God’s word, people laughing at my witty humor (I know that’s a stretch) people laughing at my jokes (rather than at me).
Perhaps you can identify with my situation. Have you ever done something expecting it to go a certain way? Prayed a prayer to God that you already have the answer for? Experienced anger and confusion when you feel like you have done all the right things on your spiritual checklist but you still don’t get the answer you desire?
Back to my prayer while the duet was singing. I had about a minute left to find peace and to try to sort all this out… By the way, my topic was “How to Minister to Those In Need.” As the duet was wrapping up their song, I had peace and calmness come over me. I clearly remember certain thoughts come to me. They had to be from God, I was too overwhelmed at the time to think them on my own.
They were “it doesn’t matter; you are being obedient to my calling. Let me take care of the rest. You are not here for the numbers or the contributions; you are here because I have called you here. If one life is touched because of your being obedient to my call then the Kingdom is furthered. If 1 or 1,000 show up, if one person gains a deeper understanding of me, then it is all worth it. Keith, you’ve done your job by being here tonight. Now go up and let me do mine
It was an honor, a blessing, and a privilege to be there that night. I remember one lady in particular sharing that she had three people in her life that were having struggles. She said she had recently felt stuck because she no longer knew how to respond. She stated the message gave her some insight into her situation. Praise God.
We all have strongholds. God showed me some of mine that night. Are there any areas in your life you may feel prompted to act on but haven’t because you don’t know how it is going to turn out? Perhaps you may not get the desired response. Maybe it is a fear of failure.
In closing, I encourage you to examine your life. In your time of prayer, be open to God’s prompting. Be obedient, regardless of how many people show up.
Keith Niager LCSW
(1 Th 5:24 NASB) “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass.”
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline