How Faithfulness in the 'Little Things' Impacts Your Future
He had a dream in his heart of filling football stadiums with worshippers.
She felt the tug on her heart to see eastern Europe come to Jesus.
But Brad, I have seen what sex trafficking looks like in Thailand. I have to do something about this.
The fact is: Pastors need trained in Malawi. Orphans need homes. The people of the Congo need clean water and they need Jesus.
Whether it is a burden to see the gospel travel along the silk road on the way #BacktoJerusalem, or a passion to see unjust laws changed to uproot systemic racism, the hearts of many of the young leaders that I have had the honor to know and love over the past decade are full of dreams to make a difference. They are history makers and future shapers. They are world changers.
One of the questions that I hear most often from these hungry hearts is How do I get from where I am now into the dreams of my heart? This question comes because we can feel stuck in the moment. Fears arise that we will miss out on our destiny.
Have you ever felt trapped in the cubicle of your current life? Does it sometimes feels like there is a canyon separating what your life looks like now from the dreams and desires that God has awakened in your heart?
Don’t fret, you are not alone.
In fact, you are in great company. Throughout history we find the stories of men and women who have made the journey through the seemingly mundane on their way to shatter the status quo and make a difference. In fact, if we look at the stories of difference makers in the Bible, learning to be faithful in the midst of the whatever life throws our way seems to be an important part of God’s process for our lives.
We can see this in the lives of Moses, Abraham, Esther and David. Even Jesus, the Savior of the world, spent most of His life working as a carpenter. Then there is the life of Joseph that so beautifully illustrates how God will work out the DNA of His dreams over us in the process of making us ready for the things that He has prepared for us. Joseph endured betrayal, slavery and prison, all the while holding onto the DNA of the God dream over his life.
Even in the midst of the adversity that Joseph was facing, God was always at work, pouring out His favor as Joseph practiced faithfulness. Joseph was walking out that when we are faithful with what we have, God will entrust us with more. The result of Joseph's faithfulness in every season of his life was a promotion into a place of influence that was more than a fulfillment of his dreams. It led to the salvation of his family and the provision for nations.
If this principle is so clearly seen, why do so many of us struggle with the gap that tends to separate where we are now from where we are going? Here are four things that I have learned in my own journey and as I walk with others that have dreams to impact the planet.
1. DON’T FEAR LOSING TOMORROW
If we feel that we have a clear sense of direction as to what God has for our lives, we can become discouraged by seasons that seem to be disconnected from where we think we are going. We can be afraid that we will miss our moment and lose out on our destiny. When we see this fear, we need to embrace it as an opportunity to grow in trust towards the Promise Giver.
More than any calling on your life or any dream of your heart, God is committed to His destiny for you. He is committed to making you more like His Son. When we learn to live with a clear "YES" in our hearts to cooperate with Him in this, we can live from a place of rest and confidence that He who has started this good work in us will be faithful to complete it.
We can hold onto the dreams of our hearts, as we practice trusting Him in with our lives.
2. PRACTICE MAKES PRESENT
One of the most powerful paradigm shifts in my own life has come as I have learned to embrace the value of being present where I am as I am in the process of growing up into the man that God is making in me. Like so many of my young friends, my heart is filled dreams of seeing cities come to Jesus and nations transformed. In the midst of these big dreams, I have often been offended by “little things” that God has put in front of me to do.
It can be easy for me to daydream of what it will be like when I get into the fantasy of what my future could look like, and miss out on the beauty of the thing that God is giving me today. But if I live with an accurate understanding of what God is doing in my life to make me more like Jesus, then every day is a gift, every “little thing” an opportunity for me to be conformed more into His image.
Learning to be present and dwell in the land, befriending faithfulness is a vital part of what it looks like for me to demonstrate trust in what He is doing in me to make me ready for the good things that He has prepared for me.
In a practical way, one of the most valuable things that I have learned in my following of Jesus is the importance of practicing being present in my today as a way of having faith for my tomorrow.
3. THE PROMISE OF INCREASE
As you cultivate a value for being present in your present life, you can do it with this promise in mind. Over and over in Scripture God speaks of His desire to give increase to His children. In Jeremiah 29, God calls His people, who were exiles in a foreign land, to be faithful to build their lives in Him even in the presence of their captors. In fact, he lays out some specific things for His people.
They were to build houses and move in. Plant gardens and eat the fruit. Get married and have babies. Raise their kids and have grandkids. These instructions were all about His children practicing faithfulness in a place they didn’t want to be. But in verse 6, God reveals His heart. After listing all of these instructions He reveals His reasons - that you may be increased there and not diminished.
Jesus affirmed this when he connected faithfulness and increase in the parable of the talents. The master was delighted to give more to the stewards who had been faithful to grow what they were entrusted with. This is God’s heart.
You have been given something today that you can steward towards tomorrow. Learn to embrace the place where you are now as you lean into His promise of increase for tomorrow.
4. DON’T WAIT. LIVE NOW.
The last thing that I will share about this is this. When we are able to see the God connection between where we are now and where He is leading us, it frees us to be excited about living life now. This is important, because it is the path of life that lies in between being distracted by our future destiny and being discouraged by the fact that we are not there.
God has given both my wife and I a heart for adoption. Even before we met, we had both sensed God’s heart for welcoming orphans. Over the 18 years of our marriage, we have regularly prayed and looked for opportunities to champion adoption and for a way to adopt ourselves.
There have been many times that we have felt discouraged and disconnected from this God dream that we have both carried in our hearts. As we prayed about how we could practice what was in our hearts with what God had entrusted with us, we began to sponsor children who lived in impoverished communities.
The fruit of sponsoring a few children as we continue to pray for God to open the door for adoption has been amazing. Not only have we been able to pray for and financially invest in children that have come to mean so much to our family, but our daughter has now caught our heart for adoption. God has been faithful to make us more like Him and has given us a way to practice what He put in our hearts as we wait and see what His plan is for our family in adoption.
Remember, more than you accomplishing your dream, God is most committed to His destiny in your life to make you more like Jesus. I promise you, no matter what your current situation is, God is able to bring moments into your day that He can use to make you more like Him.
P.S. BEFORE YOU GO!
If you enjoyed reading this blog, we are hosting a FREE online conversation called LIFECAST all about what it really means to dwell in the land on October 26th at 2pm eastern. All you need to participate is an electronic device and yourself! Our special guests include speakers and musicians LACEY STURM, JOSH STURM, and JASMINE TATE! Please don't miss this opportunity to learn with us, talk with us, and get a few helpful resources!
Brad and his wife, Adriane, have spent over two decades pastoring churches in the United States with a focus on reaching the “un-churched”. In 2011, they moved to Grove City, PA with their daughter Abigail to pioneer Antioch Overflow Experiment (AOX), a community of simple churches with a mission to “disciple, equip, and release sons and daughters of the King to transform every sphere of society for the glory of God.” Follow him on social media @bradmckoy to stay connected to him and his family.