On the way to baggage claim, I listened to the message my doctor’s office had left while I was 36,000 feet in the air. I had just landed in North Carolina for a writer’s conference and happened to be four months pregnant.
The nurse’s words came at the worst possible time. My test results were in, and I needed a prescription filled immediately. My plan for a quiet evening was suddenly hijacked. Finding a ride to the pharmacy was not on my travel agenda.
Neither was the profound and unexpected conversation I had with a complete stranger.
When my prescription was ready later that evening, I waited outside as the hotel shuttle pulled up to the curb. I needed a ride to the Walmart ten minutes away. Other conference attendees requested rides to restaurants and the local mall. My stop was the last one since Walmart was the furthest.
The driver asked me questions about what I did. His name was Dale. He made hats for a living. A blue and gray driving cap adorned his head. Dale wasted no time revealing that he knew Jesus. I shared my inferiority in a sea brimming with talent and my initial hesitancy to even attend this writer’s conference. I felt like I didn’t quite belong.
As I listened to him speak, I caught hints of contentment laced all throughout his words.
At a stoplight, he slowed the van to a halt and turned to face me. He said, “You know, Miss Kelly, artists like us, we got to listen to the Spirit of God. God created us to create. If we get caught up in what the world calls success, then we really aren’t all that different from the rest of them, are we?”
I nodded in agreement. Maybe it was always God’s plan to fly me across the country for this one conversation with a hat-making-taxicab-driver named Dale.
I took lots of notes at that conference. I learned so much in those three days. Yet Dale’s words were the ones that played over and over in my head; they resonate even today, two and a half years later.
God knew I needed to hear those words in the worst way.
Dale didn’t need a microphone on a stage to deliver words of influence. The business card he handed me has long been misplaced. It had the shuttle service number at the bottom and a blank line across the middle. Underneath were the words WRITE DRIVER’S NAME HERE in tiny caps.
His name never appeared on a conference program or a screen with his credentials; he didn’t seem to need evidence that his art was successful. His name wasn’t even printed on the business cards he handed people. Maybe because He was in the business of making God’s name known.
Lately I’ve been reading this passage in Romans:
For from him and through him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
What if God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is for me to live small?
What if that’s His plan so that I can worship Him properly for the rest of my time here on earth?
Living small goes against the flow of this selfie-saturated world. I’ve been convicted lately that in many ways my life doesn’t look all that different. Sometimes I look, think, and act just like those who don’t know Jesus. His presence in my heart should make a vibrant difference.
There’s a power struggle going on in my heart, an all-out battle with myself.
Yeah, I want to be known. I’d love someone to view my words as publish-worthy, because it would serve as evidence that I’m a real writer. I compare myself, I’m way too self-aware, and quite honestly, entitlement infiltrates my thoughts on a daily basis.
Jesus looked and talked and thought so differently during His years here on earth. He found value in the least, the spiritually bankrupt, the foolish and unimportant. Jesus was so socially awkward. But, never wavering, He knew why He had come.
Jesus talked about the narrow way and the small gate, and He was completely honest when He said few would find it. He taught that hearts set on earthly things that waste away would only inherit treasure that fades away as well. But hearts set on the things of heaven would find their treasure secure with Him.
Our devotion fuels our pursuit.
The world often recognizes eternal treasure as foolishness. Paul warns the Christians in Rome, “Do not conform.” Conform means to be in agreement with. Chasing big means agreeing with what the world labels success. It’s building myself up to make my name known.
A life of influence never depends on a microphone and a crowd. I want to chase the kind of success that can’t be measured here on earth.
Choosing small means letting the Spirit of God guide each step rather than the latest five-step plan for success. It means spending our lives to make His name known, and counting everything secondary to knowing Him.
Small has a way of clearing the space around us so that our souls can breathe in and out with ease.
Jesus loves you,