Two days ago I was listening to a teaching called “Learning to Think” by Kris Vallotton of Bethel Church in Redding, CA. In it he was talking about small obedience: like when God asked him to pick up the trash along a lengthy stretch of highway by himself. It took a few hours. And he grumbled to God as he undertook the task. I laughed and listened closely. God frequently asks small obedience of me too. In fact, in this new season it is one of the things I am most excited about – learning to walk in obedience with tiny things.
So, I had an “oh!” moment as I was listening because earlier in the day I was walking on the road adjacent to my apartment and I saw a 2″ screw lying on the ground. The Lord said, “pick it up, throw it away. Love this city.” While it is always nice to clean up your city, when the Holy Spirit really prompts you, you listen up. Well, God has been speaking to me for at least a year now about taking ownership and authority in the city I live in. ESPECIALLY in minute acts of service. Yet, whether it was the man in the nearby doorway or my own laziness, I didn’t pick up the screw. Hence, when I was listening to the teaching I immediately thought, “I have to go pick up that screw!” At that point it was approaching 11pm, I was dressed for bed, and I thought, “okay, I’ll go when I finish listening to this teaching.”
Of course, I forgot. So, the next morning as I nestled into His presence to spend my morning with God, I was immediately reminded of THE SCREW. “Oh, Lord, I’m sorry. I really want to listen and respond to you in tiny obedience.” I hopped up and went outside.
As I gazed at the ground in search of the forlorn screw, a young man approached me, an American. I explained I was looking for a screw that God just reminded me of. He was curious. And he asked the usual, “how long have you been here?” “what do you do here?” “are you married?” line of questions. And I answered. In my answer, I mentioned the soon-to-start Bible Study I will be leading. And he said he would drop by some time! “Oh, well, actually it’s for kids,” I explained. I queried as to who he was waiting for, “oh, I don’t remember her name. An American girl I met yesterday. She lives here in this building near yours.”
Moments later she appeared. Dressed conspicuously – explained by her answer to my question, “What are you doing in Bethlehem?” Her answer: “I’m going to find a Palestinian husband. I’ve been all over the world and I’ve known people from many cultures, but Palestinians are the best. And they are so close to their families. I didn’t really have a family growing up, so I want that.” Her directness made me laugh. And she asked where I was headed. “Weeeeell, I actually just came outside to pick up a screw I saw on the ground yesterday. I was spending time with God this morning and He reminded me of it.” “I need Jesus” was her instant response. And she proceeded to ask for my phone number so we could get together some time. The guy got it too. Both were salivating from this Jesus encounter now underway.
They had to be on their way and invited me along, but I explained that my mornings are spent with God. They smiled and said they look forward to getting together soon. And I half scampered, half danced my way back to my apartment. “Jesus! You are so GOOD!” I yelled. And I dance, dance, danced throughout my apartment laughing and praising the Lord. What a wonderful gift! The screw was apparently long-gone (probably picked up by the glass factory workers next door), but in its place was a wide open door for loving some new friends: a man and a woman that God is madly in love with. What an honor to be introduced to them so poignantly! Like a ride at Disneyland, I can hardly wait to see what sits around the corner for these two!
I love Jesus! His ways are positively ingenious!
2 thoughts on “Tiny Obedience: the infamous “screw” story”
my goodness Dawn! I love stories like these, whether they happen to me or to you or to anyone else! Wow, I love the Lord 🙂
Jen, yes! God’s the best storyteller of all time– and all “not time”!