God Does His Greatest Work Through Simple Acts of Obedience

This is an excerpt from my upcoming book, What Are You Going to Do With Your Life?, which releases on Oct. 13. Pre-order your copy here today!

God can accomplish more through one simple act of obedience than the most talented leaders can accomplish in a lifetime on their own.

When I was in college, I was the leader of a small campus ministry. By small, I mean that there weren’t more than 10 of us in the whole thing. We decided we wanted to host a big evangelistic event on campus. We booked the largest auditorium on campus and did all the usual promo—booked a local worship band, passed out fliers promising free hot dogs, etc.

The day before the event, I had that huge knot in my stomach that always comes on the eve of massive, humiliating failure. (I’ve had enough failures in my life to know exactly what it feels like when one is moments away. It’s like the ache in his bones my granddad used to get before a big rain.) Our leadership team was sitting in the school cafeteria working through the final details of our event. I was bracing myself and our team for the worst when I heard a small commotion coming from just over my left shoulder. I turned, and there on top of the table stood one of the girls on our leadership team. She was small, quiet, and shy. But there she stood, stamping her foot and calling for the attention of all four to five hundred people in the lunchroom. Yes, it was as awkward as you are imagining it.

“I’m sorry to interrupt your lunch,” she said, “but I wanted to invite all of you to an event we’re hosting tomorrow night in the campus theatre. One of our friends is going to share his story about how he came to know Jesus and tell you how Jesus can change your life, too. And we really want you all to be there because Jesus is the greatest thing in our lives. Please come.” And then she started to sit back down.

“Oh, and there will be free hot dogs,” she added.

We all stared at her.

She quietly resumed her lunch.

“Uh, what was that?” I asked, glancing into her glass to see if someone had added in a little something interesting to her Diet Coke.

“I’m not sure,” she said, “I just felt like the Spirit of God wanted me to do that.”

I’m not saying that obedience to the Spirit means you start standing up on tables in public dining facilities. On the whole, I’d counsel against it. But I will tell you that more than 700 people showed up the next night, and 51 people made first-time professions of faith.

God does his greatest works through small acts of obedience from seemingly insignificant people.

Earlier this year I saw this happen at our church through a guy named “Derrick.” Derrick got saved through the prison ministry at our church, and after being released from prison, he joined that ministry as part of the leadership team, going back into the same prison he once was held in. He hasn’t been able to get his license yet, so he takes a Lyft each week to church.

On the way to church, he shared his testimony with the driver. The driver said that he had grown up a Muslim, but had recently had a series of dreams in which he thought Jesus might be speaking to him. When they pulled into our church’s parking lot, Derrick told him, “Listen—I think you need to come into church with me.” He did, and that night, when I gave an invitation, he came forward to profess his faith in Christ and be baptized.

Because of the gift of the Holy Spirit, it’s not about the abilities you bring to the table, but the willingness you lay on the table. God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called. What makes you capable of extraordinary things is not extraordinary gifts, but an extraordinary willingness to be used by God.

As D.L. Moody used to say, “The world has yet to see what God can do through one man (or woman) fully submitted to him.”

Maybe you’re supposed to be “that one.”