The Big, The Loud and the Crowd…

I know I’m a bit of a workaholic.

I know that I lean towards activity, towards busyness, crowds, noise and bigness.
Yet I have come to discover that often God is found in the place of stillness, jesus himself left the crowds and sought time with his father.
Jesus never “put on an event” nor did he ever seem to do the competitive thing of trying to constantly be bigger and better (although the disciples were playing the comparison game with John the Baptist in John 4).
It is easy to be seduced by bright lights or big names… but behind the glitz and glamour often what we find are people, places, things that are actually very ordinary just like you and me, and doing much the same things as us, just maybe a bit louder and noiser.
As I recently blogged about working in a big trendy church with a huge reputation which actually wasn’t great, whereas the previous unfamous church I worked in I saw God do wonderful and amazing things.
I used to run an under 18s Nightclub in Poole, The AREA, it was noisy with smoke machines and a massive PA system, flashing lights and hundreds of kids having a great time, and a large team of helpers… Yet a few years on, it didn’t see the revival we were hoping and praying for… But felt successful and people in the Christian scene said nice things about it. Whereas a few years before this I ran a group for the 7-11s group called the “Really Small Theatre Company” in Wakefield, with a handful of kids who didn’t always behave that well, I used to feel a bit like a rubbish kids worker some evenings afterwards, yet umpteen years on a number of those young people are still walking with God.
I wonder what I thought was successful from the vantage point of heaven might not have been as great as I thought it was, whereas things I felt weren’t that successful and were hard work might from heavens perspective been much more beautiful and blessed than perhaps I thought.
I remember on one occasion I preached my heart out to a fairly unresponsive congregation only to have a 2 minute conversation in the car park which really blessed me, perhaps I was meant to go to that Church not to be a blessing (although I hope I was) but to recieve a blessing, it wasn’t about the service and the stuff around it but the two minutes in the car park afterwards.
Scripture reminds us not to despise the day of small things.
Often things are written of as failures and the plug is pulled, when I wonder if you are simply looking at them with too much of a worldly point of view. Do we measure things with a false criteria and not the viewpoint of heaven.
Are we more worried about being successful or faithful?
Do we perhaps loose the exciting “golden seem of grace” in the busyness where we miss what God is doing amongst the multitude ofdistractions.
Too busy actually to do what really matters?
Too distracted by the urgent that we miss the important?
Diary too full with that which is transistory to invest in the invisable future of what is eternal?
Do we live for recognition and applause of our peers or the affirmation of God, the audience of one, when he says “well done good and faithful servant”.
In the midst of it all, the noise and the crowds, the frentic pace of life, and the ever growing stack of emails and dairy demands, do we hear that still small voice directing our path, saying “this is the way walk in it” or are we tossed about from one event to a crisis to the next appointment?
So, let’s look at the way we order our lives with the eyes of faith, seeking for the voice of God, and not just looking for him in the expected places of noise and activity but also in the quiet places of humble and faithful service, not being distracted by the new and the shiny but in the revolutionary conspiracy of the ordinary and mundane.
A prayer…
Where are you calling me Lord?  What are you calling me to do?
Don’t let me waste my time doing the good when you are calling me to the better and eternally greater?
Let’s me hear your voice above the noise.
Don’t let me be pulled along by the crowd but only go where you ordain my steps.
Don’t let me waste my time of glitzy glamourous distractions but give me the grace to faithfully accept the hidden (for now) Kingdom steam of possible earthly obscurity but breaks out a smile of the face of the Saviour. Amen.

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