WRITTEN BY: LEANNE CABRAL
We love to Gather. We long to be with others and feel that sense of belonging that emerges. Though we may go through times of isolation we have an innate yearning to Gather. It is a need that was divinely planted in us by the God whose image we are created in. His very nature is Gathering as He is three-in-one! Amazing things happen when we Gather.
This longing unites us. It bridges age, personality, culture, economic and denominational diversity. We all have the opportunity to Gather with our ONEs, our FEW and our MANY. For the next 750 words I have the privilege of Gathering with you online - an opportunity I don’t take lightly. I am honoured to be with you and grateful that you have entrusted me with a few minutes of your time!
Today I want to tell you a story about the significance of the ONE and how God uses it to nourish, encourage and inspire the FEW and the MANY.
A few weeks ago in an overcrowded coffee shop I sat with a dear friend who recounted a story of radical obedience and the secret to joy she discovered there. She, for a while now, was committed to being quick to obey whatever the Father asked of her.
The initial instructions were simple: “pick up that trash”, “return the cart” or “pay for that person’s coffee”. However this time obedience felt vulnerable, risky and awkward.
“Pick up a flower for your Massage Therapist today,” she heard the Lord say.
“Lord, I am running late for my appointment and I don’t even know what flowers she likes,” she gently hesitated.
“Stop at the grocery store and walk around the floral display three times - on the third time I will show you which one to buy.” Sure enough, like Jericho, as she rounded the corner for the third time the Lord drew her attention to beautiful purple orchid. “Give her this one and tell her that of all the people in the world I see her and I choose her. I want to give her real life instead of imitation, artificial life.”
“Lord, she does’t even know you… are you sure?” she asked cautiously.
“Yes,” He responded. “And tell her to throw out the imitation orchid in her office. She does not need the fake one because I am giving her the real thing. In searching for truth she has settled for counterfeits, I am the Truth she is looking for. Also, tell her that if she continues to care for the orchid, I will make it bloom.”
It can sound crazy starting off a sentence with “God told me…” especially to someone one who hasn’t met Him yet, but she obeyed. As she proceeded to share the rest of the message, her Massage Therapist’s eyes got wider as poignant truth began to sink in.
Why is it that our gaze so effortlessly wanders to the value of the MANY… a bigger platform… a larger impact. With our eyes fixed on that, we miss out on the extraordinary in the ordinary that is already in our hands. I wonder if we forget the significance of mundane daily obedience and the beauty of practising longterm faithfulness in the same direction. It is there that perseverance grows, character takes root, the secret to joy is unearthed and the extraordinary manifests itself. This is precisely what prepares us for “the MANY”.
The last parable Jesus shared was that of the Chosen Workers. A land owner selects his workers - some at 9am, others at 12pm, a few more at 3pm, and the final group at 5pm. The crowning touch is that they all get paid the same wage regardless of how long they worked. By 5 o'clock most would have left for home… except for the faithful, long-suffering, previously rejected, overlooked few.
Most of us are 5pm labourers, simply waiting to be selected and given our tasks. While we wait we are faithful with what is in our hands and with those in our immediate influence. Be faithful in the ordinary. Be steadfast in the mundane. Be obedient in the small things, the seemly insignificant things that no one sees.
Remember that you never escape the Father’s gaze and at the appointed time you will be chosen for that extraordinary hour of labour. In the meantime don’t underestimate the legacy you are building and the Kingdom you are growing one seemly insignificant act of obedience at a time!
Oh, and the orchid purchased 6 months ago, is still blooming!