The world is obsessed with the highlight reel, and I’m not just referring to sports. TV shows emphasize “the big deal” where businessmen or women land giant contracts loaded with cash and prestige. Men and women join law enforcement with hopes of one day getting an award for bringing down drug lords or leaders of organized crime. And yes, in sports, boys and girls dream of scoring the winning goal in the state championship. The rhythm of the world emphasizes the big moment.
When it comes to following God, however, it’s not about the big moment. It’s not about “conversion” or “leading someone to Christ” or “writing a NY Times Bestseller.” Paul wrote, “to those who by patiently doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life.” (Romans 2:7) Eugene Peterson calls it, “a long obedience in the same direction.” The Christian life is not about the big moment, but about a rhythm of patience and consistency. It’s about all of the little ways in which one can do good for someone else today. The Christian life is described in the Bible as “walking with God” (Micah 6:8)—slow and steady over a long period of time. This means time spent reading the Bible, praying, talking with a friend/coworker/fellow student, picking up trash, smiling, writing a letter to a sponsored child, volunteering at a foster agency, is time well spent. I guess you could call it the “low-light reel.”
This new year offers an opportunity to break out of the rhythm of the world by letting go of high-light reel Christianity. Instead, may God help us focus on all of the little ways in which we can patiently do good today, tomorrow and the day after that, and the day after that, and, well, you get the picture.
*Eugene Peterson’s book is titled: A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, and it’s REALLY good.