Articles streetsweeper

Published on February 28th, 2008 | by Alex and Brett Harris

Here Lived A Great Streetsweeper




This entry is part 16 of 21 in the series Do Hard Things

It is not extremely difficult for us to convince ourselves that the faithful practice of doing small, hard things should be valued as vital preparation for future achievements. It is, however, much harder to view them as significant in and of themselves. Can we assign meaning to these simplest and humblest of acts?

Martin Luther King Jr. says we can. He wrote: “If a man is called a street-sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great street-sweeper who did his job well.”

This is the same purposefulness that the Apostle Paul shares when he writes, “Whatever you do work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men,” and “whatever you do, do all for the glory of God.”

As Christians we have an incredible sense of overall life purpose but we also believe that God assigns the specific everyday circumstances of our lives, the small things (Psalm 16). Our overall sense of purpose gives meaning and significance to every small thing we do in life; we view them joyfully and wholeheartedly as opportunities to live well and beautifully for our Creator.

With this biblical worldview, there is no basis for despising small or obscure things. It places no limits on our chances to make an impact or live for the glory of God. Like the street-sweeper your actions at home, at school, at church, and elsewhere in your community can bring great glory to God if you are willing to throw yourself into them 100% just because they are things that He has given you to do.

And because God is good, by doing whatever He has put before you with all your heart, regardless of whether it appears significant or not, you will find yourself benefited and strengthened, ready for next thing.

Answer the following questions, then share your answers and other thoughts with your fellow rebelutionaries in the comments section below:

  • What small things are you doing?
  • What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?


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About the Author

are the co-founders of TheRebelution.com and co-authors of Do Hard Things and Start Here. They have a passion for God and for their generation. Their personal interests include politics, filmmaking, music, and basketball. They are both graduates of Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Virginia.



  • Elizabeth

    Good post. It is so hard to remember that even the most menial tasks can bring glory to God. It’s easy to overlook the small things – the things that build our strength – in favor of wanting to doing the big things that we will be recognized for.

    1) What small things are you doing?

    I’m homeschooled, but I go to public school for orchestra.

    2) What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?

    If my mindset was “What can I do to glorify to God here?”, I would be encouraging the Christians there, and being a witness to those who are not Christians. I’m afraid I’m not very good at that. :(

  • Nicole

    1) One of the “small” (unnoticed) things I do is to daily choose what to do about the injustices I witness.

    Another “small” thing I do is being grateful each day.

    2) If I did the first in a way that honors and glorifies God, I would be politically active daily (instead of just about elections) because every action would witness my convictions.

    And if I did the second in a way that truly glorifies God, then I would be actively grateful and constantly lifting my heart up in worship to Him — not just not complaining.

  • Marissa

    1) What small things are you doing?
    At the moment, finishing high school!

    2) What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    Wow…I would do my schoolwork first in the day, to the absolute best of my ability. I wouldn’t treat it as a “necessary evil”, nor put it last on my list. I’d do it with as much enthusiasm and purpose as if I had volunteered to do something that I thought would be loads of fun…

    …which I can’t do while on the internet…whoops…later!

  • Christine

    What small things are you doing? serving my family while putting others first and doing my school work.
    What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God? do my school to the very best of my ability and not just go through it cause I have to. Through everything, work to always be thinking about others and their needs before my own.

  • Hannah Williams

    What small things am I doing?I am trying to stop slavery.And trying to be a good influence to my siblings.

    What can I do to glorify God?This to me is a question that has a lot of answers.I can follow Gods word.I can spread Gods word.Mark 16:15 “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel”I can do what I can stand up for what is right when others can’t.Proverbs 31:8-9,”Speak up for those who have no voice,for the justice of those who are dispossessed.Speak up ,and defend the cause of the oppressed and the needy.”I can fill my mind and my heart with Gods word.Proverbs 3:1-2,”My son,don’t forget my teaching,but let your heart keep my commands;for they will bring you many days,a full life,and well being.”I can show mercy to those who have done me wrong.Romans 9:14,”I will show mercy to whom I show mercy,and I will have compassion to whom I have compassion.”God bless.our sister in Christ,Hannah

  • What small things are you doing?
    -Persevering in schoolwork [homeschool] despite challenges and distractions. Serving in church.
    What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    -I would work harder to do my absolute best at school. To serve with joy and humility, not seeking the favor of others. I could definetely do better in these areas.
    Thanks for a challenging post!

  • Alex

    What small things are you doing?
    –well, I’m finishing highschool, doing track, and loving my family.

    What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    –it’s funny, because I have been contemplating this for quite some time. One thing that I have learned it that this is all a heart issue. So whatever you do, you need to do it with the right heart. Whether it be doing the laundry, or running 6 miles, or singing in church. It is the thoughts of the heart that really count. What the LORD really wants is our heart. We need to be ardently and passionately focused in Him. We fail so much in this area, why? Because of our flesh. So many times we are weak in the spirit because we have been feeding the flesh so much. What we don’t realize is how much that is affecting our heart. Think about the scribes and the Pharisees. Jesus called them hypocrites for what they weren’t doing. Are we hypocrites because we are not doing what the LORD asks of us? When we have the right heart in the things we do, we are doing them for the glory of God.
    Thanks for the post.

  • Nicole

    Amen, Alex!!

  • Karen Kovaka

    Yes! Yes! I love this!

    I wrote on my arm today, so I wouldn’t forget, that “as you did it to one of the least of these so you did it to me…” And, I thought, hey, if my faith can’t weather boredom with grace and purpose, then how pathetic is it? 😛

  • This is very urgent:

    We have received news from the ministry called ‘Gospel For Asia’ that:

    A group of Christians over in Himachal Pradesh, India have been kidnapped. Their captors are thought to be the anti-Christian extremist arm of the state’s ruling political party. Initial reports are that the extremists are trying to get the Christians to renounce Christ and follow their country’s traditional religion.

    Please pray for those brothers and sisters!

  • Ben Brown

    This is very good. I’ve been thinking about what things I’m not doing to the best of my ability for the glory of God and what small hard things I can do.

    1) What am I doing?
    Getting up at 5:30 every morning instead of 6:50. (Bus comes at 7:15)
    Doing my known chores without being asked… and joyfully too!

    2) What would it look like if done for God’s glory?
    I think diligence in our studies is a big one for most kids my age. If I was doing my work for God’s Glory it would mostly follow the pattern of work before play. But play is sooo FUN!!! So I need to pray for God’s grace for me in this area.

  • Ben Brown

    Oh and to follow that up, that quote by Luther just captures the essence of it! If I could go back in time and have lunch with some dead guys, he’d be one of them!

  • Bekah

    What small things are you doing? Finishing up high school, competing in speech and debate, making movies for youth group.
    What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God? I sometimes think that the only reason I should be doing small things is because they prepare me for bigger things. Like, “I’ll make youth group movies today and someday I can make real movies.” But it’s good to be reminded that what matters most is serving God right now, right where I am. It’s easy to think that the work I do doesn’t matter unless it’s a “big thing.” However, it was great to be reminded that what really matters is not doing big things but doing every little thing to the best of my ability! Thanks for the reminder that the most important thing I can do is to live fully for God right where I am.

  • Nicole

    Kirsten and Elisabeth: This will sound unusual at the beginning, but it is an interesting lesson that I learned a while back from my mom and was reminded of the other day in a new way while reading a book on Hudson Taylor’s mission work.

    In the book, it was covering a time when many of the missonaries were being attacked and killed or seriously harmed by mobs. When Hudson was told of someone or some people (I forget) who died during an attack by a mob he said something like, “That must have been glorious! To one moment be surrounded by the mob and violence and happenings that were completely horrendous and then the next moment to be in God’s glorious Presence!”

    At the beginning of what he is saying, if you’re like most people, you go, Wha . . . ? But by the end you get what he means. It MUST have been GLORIOUS!

    My mom was reading a blog a while back that is written by a friend of my brother’s who is struggling to be a missonary in Thailand. In it, the girl reported that a group of missonaries had been captured, but then she said that she couldn’t understand why God wasn’t setting them free. My mom commented (to me) that that’s not what being a Christian is about — being protected. Rather it is about surrendering to God’s Will — whatever it is. We are called to lay our lives down. I was struck by the Truth of that.

    Many times we are only asking for protection, for freedom, for ease, for happiness. I did that. We don’t see the Higher road that leads through the Cross and on to the Resurrection. But, oh, to find that road! To desire it! We would find all that our spirits, souls, minds, and hearts long for! We would find God’s Heart in such a way that all else would pale — we would never see anything else as comparable to Him from then on!

    So, my fellow Rebelutionaries, let’s pray for our brothers and sisters — let’s pray for Protection and freedom, according to His Will, yes; but above all, let’s pray for true Peace to fill them within, for Strength, for Conviction, for Courage, for Love, for God’s Heart, and for them to know real Freedom no matter what — the kind of Freedom we only know by standing firm in Righteousness and resting wholly on the One we love who first Loved us — the One who died to set us Free.

    And let’s pray the same for us — that we will live our lives wherever we are with as much conviction as we hope for them in their daunting situation. So often we compromise because the opposition is “soft” and we don’t see the real harm in it. But if our brothers and sisters in Jesus are forced to live under abuse and torture, to die and become imprisioned, just to profess the very same things we do; are we not collaborating with those who persecute them, mocking the message they die to live, if we refuse to live what we say we believe? There is harm in it! There is always harm in compromise!

    Let’s honor Jesus’ Sacrifice for us, and the sacrifices He inspires and enables others from around the world to give, by living for Him right where we are — and wherever we go — with as much passion and conviction as they are forced to have to continue to follow God and to profess to under the worst conditions.

    Thank you, Elisabeth and Kirsten, for letting us know so that we can help, and also, be challenged.

  • Oh wow, such things are usually not accepted until one reaches a point in the latter part of their life when they want to believe that it has not all been for naught; but for those so young to embrace the absolute truth of this loudly proclaims that our Heavenly Father is already doing great and wonderful things in and through them. Thank you so very much for wanting to truly be His children by faith!!!

  • Angela Charis

    I really found this post helpful and encouraging as I had just been thinking about how much small things count. One thing our pastor mentioned recently that I found very thought (and action) provoking is that everything we do is an act of worship. Then I realised that if I was complaining, I was not worshipping God, but instead self-pity, and if I was losing my temper, I was not worshipping God, but anger. It was a very sobering thought, but it also caused me to realise that in every little thing we CAN be choosing TO worship God, instead of something else. We can be worshipping and delighting in God with everything we do (or don’t do).

    * What small things are you doing?

    At the moment I am striving to pick up my cross daily and follow God. This means doing my math when I should, not procrastinating, managing my time wisely, serving others and trying to be unselfish. While those are all small sounding, it is the persistence that is hard, as stated in the previous post about small hard things,

    “This is the way it sometimes works with small things. As we are faithful in small things God will always ask more of us, but not always by giving us bigger things to do. Instead He might do so by asking us to remain faithful in the small things we are already doing.”

    And in Matthew 25:23, ‘…Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’

    I find it quite hard enough just to continue doing small hard things for now.

    * What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?

    I would want to be choosing to put him above/over my own will and sinful desires and instead choosing to worship Him. To be doing everything wholeheartedly, with a joyful heart, face and attitude and to be thankful that I have the opportunity to serve in whatever task I have to do. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!

  • What things am i doing?
    1. doing my Home school
    2. trying to work with my siblings
    3. Reading my Text messages each day (Bible)
    4. working for my mom without complaint

  • ~What small things are you doing?
    Right now, trying to study for the SAT and finish up with geometry. And cooking and helping keep things in order while my mom is gone for a month.

    ~What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    Well, I think I definitely need to study more diligently for the SAT instead of thinking it to hard. Philippians 4:13-“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” As for cooking and helping out while Mom’s gone, I need to realize that I can help and while helping i don’t need to do things just to get praise for them, cause what is man’s praise? I need to focus more on striving to do everything for the glory of God. And to put my siblings first.

    Thank you guys for another humbling post!

  • Grace

    Kirsten & Elisabeth Gruber: Will pray. Please keep us updated, if you can.
    *What small things am I doing?

  • Grace

    Whoops! (Continues)
    Getting a Bachelors in Graphic Design , doing the projected information board at church, helping around the house.

    What would it look like for me to do them for the glory of God?
    Philippians 2:14-16a “Do all things without grumbling or questioning, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life”
    Working with a smile makes a huge difference. Another translation says to do everything without complaining or arguing that we might shine like stars in the heavens. The more I look around the more I realize that Paul wasn’t exaggerating. Complaining is the universal pastime for the unsaved, it shouldn’t be mine.

  • Hannah Williams

    Elizabeth & Kirsten,I will be praying for our brothers and sisters.Please be praying for a a couple in Hatti. The lady is pregnant,and kidnapped.No one knows where they are.And about 7 years ago we had some friends that went as missionairies over to the middle east,no one has heard from them since they left.

    Your Sister In Christ, Hannah

  • Emily

    I know that this is completely off-topic, so I apologize for that… but I was asked whether Alex or Brett is older, and I don’t know the answer! (I don’t see what difference it makes anyhow. :P) So… which is older, and by how much? Thanks!
    Emily

    P.S. Small things that I’m doing would include:
    ~Working with kids in a Bible Club
    ~Serving my family
    ~Trying to be a good friend

  • Amanda Forman

    Faithfulness in little things is so important. I’m glad you guys are talking about this 😉 It can be so easy to get bogged down in the mundane and routine things of life and forget to do things excellently. I really loved the Martin Luther King Jr. Quote.

    I heard a story about a man who committed his life to Christ during the days of Martin Luther (not King Jr.). He went up to to Luther.

    “Brother Martin! I have just become a Christian. What am I supposed to do now?”
    Luther Replied. “What do you do now?”
    “I’m a shoemaker”
    “Then you should make a good shoe and sell it at a fair price.”

    Little things speak loudly.

    “Do you see a truly competent worker? He will serve before Kings, He will not serve before unknown men” Proverbs

    I should go work on Biology Lab Homework 😉

    A

  • Emily: I could tell you which one was older, but that would spoil the fun of making you guess! 😉

  • Emily

    😀 The person who asked me is going to get a kick out of that answer. 😀

  • Erika

    this post reminded me of Randy Alcorn’s book Safely Home….if you haven’t read it, its really good!

    My small hard thing…would probably be making the most of minute and spending it for the glory of God. I’m guilty of losing precious minutes of my day because I spend them idly. Often I get to the end of a day and feel like I lost it.

    I’m guessing that Alex is older (A comes before B in the alphabet…. 😀 )

  • Nicole

    Erika: I DID read “Safely Home.” I read it when I was 15 (right when it came out) and it was my favorite of all of Randy Alcorn’s books. I was so inspired that people would give their lives to God in such a way as to die for Him and go through imprisonment and torture for Him. But then I lived what it taught by going through a few situations where my life and safety and freedom was endangered because Truth was spoken and I learned some things that many people in the U.S. do not give God the chance to teach them because they “water down” the Message so much with compromise that makes it sound easier — you know, the way they speak truth, they don’t need to be persecuted because the Message they were called to rise up and speak has already been stripped of its full power and love by their compromise. After surviving multiple violent attacks, and the physical and emotional panic-attacks that went with them, for standing firm in God’s Righteousness and the Commands of His Word . . . the book appeared differently to me. I wasn’t able to make it through a second time because it didn’t ring true to my experience. Two years ago, I, too, would have highly recommended this book, but now my (personal) recommendation is that is you read it to ask for God’s Perspective and, also, that He would teach you the FULL truths of what is going on when people are persecuted for His Sake. I also would recommend further reading into the situation (that is ongoing) in China, and other countries where many hardships still exist for Christians because they are standing true in faith, through real-life accounts of the people who bled and still bleed the battlefield red out of love for the One we serve.

  • Erika

    Nicole,
    I was quite surprised to read your reaction to my comment. I am very aware of what is going on in countries like China. Every day I receive updates and prayer requests…so I am aware of the ongoing situation. I’m a little confused be your post….maybe you could be a bit more specific regarding your situation and why you no longer like Safely Home. Maybe I’m a nieve American, but I don’t want to be.

    ~erika

  • Hannah Williams

    Brett,What happened to Alex? All I’m seeing is your comments.I hope he is not sick or something.Did the FBI ask him to do a top secret mission? Or did he go to a far off country to be a misionairie? When he gets back from his secret mission tell him I said hi.
    What case is he working on? Or is it so secret he could not even tell his family? Tell him to be sure to wear his bulett proof vest.I am praying for your family.God bless. your sister in Christ, Hannah

  • Brett: Come on tell us!!!!! :(

  • Nicole

    Erika: It is one thing to read the news that is available to us daily about the situation in China and countries like it, but it is a whole other thing to live it. I would rather not elaborate on personal details. I apologize. I hope I explained everything well enough already for people to look into it more for themselves and to each come to the conclusion that God Wills for them to. Again, I’m sorry I can’t elaborate — especially since you seem to express a real affinity for a book that once meant a lot to me. There are a lot of things I can talk about, but a few things I can’t. It would simply put my and other innocent lives in danger. Thank you for understanding.

    Hannah: NO! Not more vest humor! I’m just kidding. I could use a bullet-proof vest a few places due to my writing . . .

  • – What small hard things am I doing?
    Teaching myself music theory and how to play piano, helping my younger siblings with school…

    – What would it look like for me to do them to the glory of God?
    I’d strive so much harder to achieve perfection, show others His love through my playing and teaching, and be much more joyful when things go wrong.

    Just out of curiosity, does the tree in the banner for this have any meaning to the series?

  • ~What small hard thing am I doing?

    Aaaaah! Studying for the Ohio Graduation Test in

  • Ummm… almost all of my comment got chopped off after I clicked the SUBMIT COMMENT button. Oops..

  • * What small things are you doing?
    Serving my church however I can; building friendships, encouraging others, serving on different ministries.
    Serving at home…cheerfully. Learning homemaking skills…learning that time is more valuable than I have been treating it.
    * What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    I already am trying to…but I fail time and time again. I am SO thankful for grace! I would be doomed without it.
    Anyway, if I did everything to the glory of God like I should…wow.

    By the way, that quote from Martin Luther King Jr is one of my FAVORITES!!! I think I did a blog post on it too. I wish I could keep it in front of me all day every day.
    Whatever happens in my life, I want to be a streetsweeper for God…in every area of my life.

    Annnnddd…as for the all-important question: MY un-educated guess would be Brett is older…despite the fact that someone pointed out that the “A” in Alex IS before the “B” in Brett.
    Yes. I have added my two cents.
    😀

    ~Lady Tai

  • Nicole

    Regarding who is older, my guess is that they are twins. I’m just kidding. Ashley is older than Mary-Kate. Whoops… wrong blog.

    And wouldn’t that be a dumb TV game show? “Guess The Older Twin.” But mark my words, it will be a reality within a year! They are always stealing my “ideas”!

  • katherine

    I think alex is older:D

    *WHat smalll things are you doing?
    Doing my school work ARGHH!!!!

    Taking drama class (it might seem fun to some of you but it is literly torture to me) 😀
    All part of my scheme to break down my walls of shyness. so , I can be bold for christ!

    Seting up the chairs and, sound stuff at my church.
    Teaching Sunday School! (almost to fun to be called hard!) 😀

    Saving money for a mission trip( when alll I want to do is go to the mall and blow it all!!!)

    Getting up early, so I can volenteer at my local American Red Cross.

    What a great post guys!!!

  • Emily

    hehe… I’m guessing that Brett is older, too. And regardless of which is older, I always say “Brett and Alex” when I’m talking about the Rebelution. Well… maybe occasionally I say, “Alex and Brett”, but it’s usually the other way around. That’s funny that people think that people name their kids in alphabetical order, though. I’ve had that response, too. Alex isn’t necessarily older just ’cause his name comes first!

    P.S. Alex, if you’re older, sorry about this… I know how I feel when people think my sister Erica is older than me. 😛

  • Erika

    Nicole,
    I understand not being able to give more details. I realize that I’ve never had to live without freedom, so I can’t totally comprehend nor do I know how I would personally respond. However, I have read many books, current news articles and talked to many people, so I’m not ignorant of the situation of many Christians around the world. I wish you could elaborate, because I’m very confused by what you are trying to communicate. I also recognize that Safely Home is not necessarily a complete (or 100% accurate) picture, however, I still believe that the message of the book is good.
    ~erika

  • Hannah Williams

    Alex is older would be my guess.Alex (or at least I think its Alex)in the pictures looks a little bit taller.And I never got a reply on my question.is Alex on a top secret mission.
    Remind him to wear his bullet proof vest.I know of people who haven’t and it didn’t look so good for them.like there was this guy who tried stop something and then there was another guy,and then there was another guy,and then there was a lady and none of them were wearing vest.Now their all uglyfied.The lady used to be hi-fa-loot-in.Then she got de-fancified.Because she didn’t wear her bullet proof vest.I aint kiddin none nether.
    your sister in Christ,Hannah

    P.S. For some reason my mom said I said i’d better put I am from Tennessee.

  • Hannah Williams

    oops i done added nother i said.

  • katherine

    I always say Brett and Alex.
    Maybe cause My mom put you guys on our Prayer list in that order!
    Were Praying for you!!

  • We’ll say this: height cannot aways be a determining factor for which twin is older; In our case, Kirsten is 4 minutes older, but Elisabeth is 1/4″ taller.

    ~Kirsten and Elisabeth Gruber

    😀

  • Hannah Williams

    i just got Leeland’s c’d.Its “Opposite”. I love it! I am listening to it right now. It is an amazing peice of art and truth.Brett,you still haven’t told me when Alex gets back from his top secret mission in Africa.Your Sister In Christ, Hannah

  • Becky

    to make things simpler why don’t we just call them “Bralex”pronounced (browlex) you know like Brangelina!!

  • Hi, Brett!! Can I tell them which one is older? 😉 By the way, this post is great. I’m really loving your series on small Hard Things; it’s something that I have definately struggled with! I can’t wait till the Dallas conference to hear more!

  • Talitha Piper

    What you wrote brings me back to Zach Hunter’s book. um, I forgot the title. but anyway, He was talking about doing small things for the glory of God. Or something like that .
    1. What small things are you doing?
    Answer: Playing violin which at times gets very challenging. Doing homework.
    2.What would it look like for you to do them for the glory of God?
    Answer: It would look like when I get frustrated in those things, I say to myself do it for the glory of God. Also I have said it sometime and I felt better and happier. So say it to yourself and maybe count to ten or sit down and relax a moment and then you will feel peace inside or at least i did. i don’t know if what i am saying makes sense or that it will work, but see if it does. Blessings!

  • Hannah Williams

    the book is called “Be The Change” I love that book!

  • Nicole

    Talitha: When I was learning the flute there were days when I couldn’t get any sound to come out of it! Other days, I had cleaned it so it made my chin gray and I walked away with a gray chin and no idea why my mom was giving me that look. Oh yeah, and one day my cat got so ticked off at my “music” that she jumped up beside me and grabbed at my flute with her paws while I was playing. Long way of saying: I know what you mean about the violin.

    —————————————————————————

    And regarding the missionary prayer thing I wrote a while back up there ^ I have something to add. I wrote that, and then it’s message kind of hit me. Today, for the first time I can ever remember, I had no idea what God had planned for me. I felt like all my plans were, in a big way, completely over. And the weirdest thing of all was that this was the first time that I remember feeling completely unafraid about what God has planned for me.
    I’ve always had big dreams. Sometimes they’ve changed, but mostly they haven’t. Mostly stuff has been added. Today, though, it looked like everything I’ve ever wanted could be just a former plan I wanted and not something God wanted for me.
    I’ve spent so much time in the past focusing on what I want. Somewhat suddenly, over the past few weeks maybe, I’ve come to realize that He has taken that desire away from me and has replaced it with only caring whether I please Him as He wants me and my life to.
    I’m kind of shaken up.
    First, a few years ago, I learned that I need to be Safe in Him and to stop seeking safety in the ways this world offers — I learned to abide in Him rather than trying to find my “home” in this world.
    Next — or at the same time, maybe — I learned that real Freedom isn’t based on outward circumstances — it’s based on the condition of the heart and soul and letting God set us completely Free through Him alone.
    Now, I’m learning that “plans” don’t matter. What if I worship and serve in little ways and then die in a month or less? What if I am “stuck” doing things that seem little to me forever? What if God puts me someplace in life that I don’t like? It doesn’t matter! All that matters is if I love Him and do all that He gives me to do for Him alone.
    This is the first time in my life that I just don’t care what is ahead. And it’s the first time that my first and foremost desire is to please Him — not to get what I want or to be sure that His Plans match up with mine or that I am okay with what He tells me to do.
    I guess I asked for this — that He would make me this way. I’m freer now that I’m here. But it’s weird, too.
    I used to want to be sure that I accomplished all that God wanted me to (that I wanted to do) — but now I’m just . . . if I can please Him and be content with what He gives me and if I can really, really know Him . . .like REALLY know Him . . . it seems like I’ve finally got the big picture and finally got the right plan and now I see that before I was just settling for something below His Call on my life. Books, movies, etc. are nothing compared to knowing His Heart. That I would settle for them and think that they were my big calling . . . they weren’t even close to the Goal that I was made to pursue.
    “Christians” often shun the Cross and go after success in this world because they think that it will boost their reputation and God’s reputation in a way that they for some reason think is good — they think that is what glorifies God — and that’s exactly what I was hoping to do, at times. I kept just wanting to get through the Cross, get through the rough times, get past the persecution, get on with doing the “good” stuff that He has given me the passion for and what I need to accomplish it. But now I know that all that should be on my heart is Him. The suffering all draws me closer to Him if I will allow Him to draw me to Himself through it all. My heart should be set on knowing His Heart. Everything else will stem from that. If I make a movie, write a book, sing a song, do ANYTHING, and I don’t know His Heart or seek to deeply know His Heart . . . it’s no good. It’s not a pleasing sacrifice. But if I know His Heart and seek Him moment by moment — constantly — in a way that I am filled with His Love so that His Love overflows through me and returns to Him and fills and outflows from everything I do . . . I am beginning to believe that THAT is what truly glorifies Him. I thought honoring Him in the ways of this world . . . but I am thinking no, now. I’ve been thinking: If a man has a wife and he is always bragging about her to his friends and showing her off to them when they are together, though he hardly knows her and knows how she feels and hardly spends time alone with her . . . is that going to win her heart? If I were the wife it would be a little embarassing and wouldn’t seem quite genuine or personal. But what if he gets to know her and spends every moment he can with her and every moment they are apart he cannot wait till the moment when he will see her and hear her voice again and he cannot stop thinking about her and he tells her daily of his love for her — in fact every chance he gets he tells her — and he gives her little things like a handpicked daisy or wildflower from a walk or he leaves her a little note in the mornings to tell her how special she is to him and how much she brings to his life . . . wouldn’t he then not be just “bragging” when he talked about her to people, but instead he would be unable to contain himself — his joy in loving her — no matter who he is around? I am saying husband to wife here because I was thinking about how I would feel in a relationship with a spouse and, see, I was thinking, “What would touch my heart and really “honor” me and make me feel loved — the “appearance” of love and the spouse always trying to honor me in big and showy ways that show that he doesn’t really know what I like or how I feel, or the intimate friendship and little, daily gifts of love that show that he really knows me and knows what I like because of spending time one on one with me?” And I was thinking that most definitely the little genuine gestures from a spouse would be bigger gifts to me than the big gestures that he would think would honor me and make me feel special only because he didn’t really know me.
    I’ve been so off-focus for so long . . . I was looking at what I could do for God as being what He created me for and the big purpose of my life and I was looking forward to that and I was missing out on the REAL true big thing He created me for and destined for me to do as part of His great Plan — to know Him, to worship Him, to be with Him — spend time with Him, to love Him as His Bride. I’ve been failing for so long at the only truly big thing I was ever meant to do because I was so wrapped up in this world’s view of what is big and how to honor/glorify someone and plans that I know would please Him, but are really just the details — the small details — in His GREAT Plan for my life. Everything is so small and unimportant when it is compared with knowing His Heart — and is even smaller, like next to nothing, if I miss out on knowing His Heart. I feel like a failure . . . but I feel like this is also the start of something much better than what I was attempting to settle for by trying to climb high and attain great things in this world.
    For the first time, I have only one plan — and that is only to please Him and know Him regardless of His Plan (I need BIG help from Him with that, though.) For the first time, all the plans I had have begun to look like they aren’t going to happen after all. And, most surprising, for the first time . . . I am fully on the right path to GREAT things and no longer distracted by and lost in this world’s “greatness” and “success” and “comforts.” For the first time, I feel completely Free and without fear. I could die and all my plans could be over . . . but I am finally LIVING so it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter because I finally know through and through what my purpose is and it is so great that NOTHING else matters.
    I will never again settle for what I saw as “great.”

  • Nicole

    I’ve learned something more:

    When I early on became a Christian I had the attitude of, “How much do I need to adhere to God’s Laws to get by (without being punished)?”
    Many people continue with this approach to Christianity throughout their lives. They are constantly asking, “Where is the line drawn that determines whether I am Saved or not? This wouldn’t please God, I know . . . but would it send me to hell? To what degree can I sin and still come back to God?”
    But isn’t that mocking, slapping Him in the Face for, shrugging away with indifference ALL that He has done for us and given us?

    This I now know: That attitude does not honor God.

    But little did I know how much I was NOT honoring God even after I learned this! I recently realized, “I must be content with where God puts me and with what He gives me to do and even with what He withholds from me.” But I did not realize HOW content I should be.

    “How can I convince God that I am content so that I can move on to where I am REALLY content?” This is what I’ve been asking myself all this time. But if I, instead of trying to find out how little I can get by with, apply the principle I learned with following God’s Laws . . . if I don’t simply try to get by with as little contentment as God will put up with and instead DELIGHT in contenting myself with Him, and Him alone . . .

    The Reward has been great for delighting in God’s Law, because I now love Him, instead of merely trying to skirt God’s Law as much as possible — only adhering to it when, and if, I find out I have to. To not only seek the necessary purity, holiness, righteousness, knowledge of God’s Person; but to seek complete Purity, consuming Holiness, uncompromising Righteousness, and to know God’s Heart as He deeply Desires to be known by His Beloved Bride . . .

  • I love that quote about the streetsweeper! :) It encourages me to do whatever I have to do and with the mindset that while doing it, I can glorify God with my whole heart.

    What small hard things am I doing?

    Well, one thing is our guitar group in church. Last year, after our lessons, I was called to lead it. Since it’s just a small guitar group and we don’t really play regularly as most of us are just beginners, it’s quite simple, really…but to me it’s hard to concentrate and stay focused, especially since I’m not used to being a leader.

    …but I see it all now. I can glorify God in it yet. I can lead with passion, just as a streetsweeper should sweep with passion. I can persevere and never give up because I know that the Lord will help me every step of the way.

    To the others out there, who are going through a same experience, don’t give up!!! And never cease to glorify God in everything you do!

    ~ Alyssa C.

    P.S. Alex is older. I think? 😛

  • katherine

    HELOOOOO?? Where are you guys????????

  • lewsta

    Doesn’t matter one whit which one is older…..I’ve spent a fair bit of time round them both, and I couldn’t even guess with any certainty. And no, they are not identical in the way they think and respond. But they ARE an absolutely amazing team, because they understand each how the other thinks. There are twins in my generation, and in the one before, both sets identical. I have a hard time telling my own twin brothers apart, especially when only one is present. Mum’s twin sisters were easy, as one had a childhood disease that left her quite frail, weak, and small. But I have a history of photographs of them going back to infancy, and no way can I tell which is which, though Mum always could. What matters at all is one’s heart before God…and to do what He has set before us. And to do it well and wholeheartedly. While noodling over which is older (by even a few minutes, as Kirsten and Elisabeth are) might be amusing, it is certainly not profitable.

  • Emily

    No, it’s not. But curious people sometimes just like to know things. 😉

  • very interesting blog, i may have to do a full review in the future.

    Thanks

  • Sophie

    Ok, I’m going against the crowd! Brett is older…. I think. I can cheat and ask your brother Josh next Sunday:)

    What small things are you doing?

    Working on being fully truthfull every day
    Doing ALL of my school each day

    Those are just the small hard things. I could name a bunch more, but they wouldn’t be hard things.

  • Hannah Williams

    Josiah,how do u do the bold print thingy/

  • Hannah: this is how
    <b>This is italic.</b>
    <strong>This is bold.</strong>

  • sorry this is right
    <b>This is bold.</b>

  • this is bold that’s what it is going to look like

  • test: this is a test
    is how you start bold is how you stop it.

  • Hannah Williams

    Boldno thats not right.,BBBBBbbbheyargh lets see here.i heard that if you push control and be its supposed to do something but it never worked 4 me. Oh ya! i know this has nothing to do with anything but i got an electric guitar.its red.now i can do music with my songs.
    Well thank you anyways Josiah,That was very kind of you to try. your sister in Christ, Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    Josiah It worked! your a geniuse! thank you so much!I m am going to have 2 start going 2 u 4 computer advice.Your sister in Christ , Hannah

  • Hannah Williams

    Brett : Did you get my e-mail?It is titled “Brett please please read and reply”
    I really need you to read it. Your sister in Christ ,Hannah

    P.S. Did you know that Josiah is a computer wiz?Its amazing the things he can do.

  • Hannah Williams

    It worked again! I can’t beleive it!

  • I learned it from my site. http://www.teenfg.com. I had to learn HTML for the site.

  • Nicole

    Hannah Williams: I’ve had a lot of experience writing authors, etc., and the most important thing is to be patient in receiving responses. Sometimes I have found that while I am waiting, if I take my questions/request before God, then He answers it (better than a person could, even) and by the time the author or whomever I wrote finds the time or opportunity to respond I actually have something quite interesting to present to them about the matter that ends up helping both of us grow.
    A lot of times it takes a good two months or more to get a response back from someone who gets a lot of mail. I’m not discouraging you from writing the Harrises . . . just letting you know that a response to an email can be hard to fit in if the person really wants to put good effort into it and I want you to know that it’s nothing personal to not receive a response for a long time from a busy author or other person. (I hope it’s okay that I answered this?)
    In the meantime, if you want something interesting to do, try going through 1 John in the Bible (asking God to teach you what He wants you to learn, by His Holy Spirit) and writing down what God teaches you while reading it. I did that with that book about 8 years ago and it was really fun (like a personal Bible Study with God) and I kept my notes in a file and I still enjoy going back and learning from what God taught me (and laughing at my reference to a Will Smith song lyric!)

    lewsta: Thank you for the all the thought-provoking twin insight. I don’t think anyone intended to noodle, but I do think we all need a push back in the right direction. Perhaps you would like to be the first to get us all back on topic by personally answering the questions posed in the original blog entry? I know I would like to hear your perspective. God Bless!

  • Boy, either Alex and Brett are posting every day, or they aren’t really posting at all! It’s the same for me, though. In fact, I really admire people who can find a happy medium. 😀
    Thanks for the great post, guys! I’m going to start trying to do the small things to the glory of God. I can’t wait to see how it goes!

  • I messed up the link to my site up there, so this one should work. Sorry. 😛

  • OK, I think I’m going to break it to you guys; Alex and Brett are twins. There y’ are!! Both sides win. :)

  • I’m thinking that, with their new post, Alex and Brett are hoping to sneak past our nosiness about who’s older.
    😛
    Then again, I highly doubt they would succumb to peer-pressure just to do it.
    Ah, I guess they probably enjoy keeping people in suspense on that topic. It’s probably sort-of like an inside joke or something. I guess if I had a twin (I used to wish I did when I was younger…I don’t know how I thought wishing about it would help at that point…) I would do the same thing – if only so I could smirk at knowing the truth while everyone else died of curiosity.
    😉
    Ok…so I’m back where I started.

    I guess I’ll go do an “easy thing” and sleep.

    ~Lady Tai

  • Talitha Piper

    Hannah: Thanks for correcting me on the book title. I love that book too!
    Nicole: That’s a funny story about your flute. But thanks for the story, Loved it.

  • Nicole

    Talitha: Thanks. And I can’t believe it, either (regarding your other post).

    ————————————————————–

    This post has started to hit home with me as someone I know is struggling to work his way up to becoming a carpenter and so has thus been employed, for the moment, with labor work, or clean-up duty — which includes a lot of sweeping.
    It’s so, so important to do what God has put before you well. God had blessed this person with a full-time job finally, after over a year of him really having a tough time finding work and being unable to pay his health insurance, but he disliked his job of sweeping so much that he didn’t do it well and complained that he wanted to move up (without doing the hard work to deserve it) so he got fired. Only after being fired did he see what great pay he was getting (it was the highest he had ever been paid, even for the work he used to do that required his college degree) and how they would have moved him up if only he had just done his job — whatever they set before him — well.
    It is so beneficial to, if we can, learn these kinds of lessons by reading or looking at what others have learned, instead of getting out there in the real world and learning them the way that hurts a whole lot.
    Thanks for this series. It’s a helpful reminder in my life to seek to please and glorify God with whatever He has set before me — even if I really don’t like it — and to not put so much importance on the “big” things , but rather to keep my focus where it belongs — on God — and to put my effort into pleasing Him and delighting Him instead of to “stepping up the ladder.”

  • Daniel Gilman

    I think Alex is older.

  • Talitha Piper

    Daniel: Alex is older. I think about 20 minutes or something like that.

  • Talitha Piper

    Daniel: Alex is older, about 20 minutes I think.

  • Talitha Piper

    sorry about the duplicate comment. Daniel , I am not trying to get the point across to you I just hit the button two times.

  • Nuts.
    If that’s true…I was wrong.
    Haha…oh well.
    :(
    And I’m guessing you, Talitha WOULD know.
    *sigh*
    I lose.
    😉

    ~Lady Tai

  • great post! mind if I come back later?

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    visit mine if you like!

  • K.J

    What small things are you doing? Atempting to teach myself mandarin chinese! Trying learn math (it is the bane of my existance) and guitar. TRYING! and I repeat TRYING! to get along with my little brother (Seven years apart and it’s like the civil war between us).Helping out around the house for my Mom & Dad and reading my bible more.

  • lizzi

    Great post, as usual, makes me think of Colossians 4:5, about redeeming the time…

  • Noella Antone

    What small thing am I doing?
    Teaching Sunday School for girls ages 6-9 and bus route ministry along with a whole host of things that come along with being a home missionary.

    I know that my actions will only glorify God if I do them with His love in my heart, His joy in my eyes, and His Words of peace spilling from my lips.

    Keep up the good work!
    God is on our side!

  • Talitha: Aw, really? hehe… I’d kinda made up my mind that Brett is older, too. But seeing that you are MUCH more closely acquainted with them, I’ll assume that you’re correct. Thanks for the information! 😀

  • Clarification: When I said that I’d made up my mind about Brett being older, I was agreeing with Lady Tai, not Talitha. Just in case that wasn’t quite clear! 😛

  • Mark

    It doesn’t exactly matter if their only 20 minutes apart. Personally it’s really hard to tell which is older anyway, but (A does come before B). Great post!

  • Okay, wait… now I’m really confused;Wasn’t there another post on the blog yesterday or the day before?

  • Mark

    Elisabeth: There was a post a few days ago about an early bird special for tickets to something, I’m not exactly sure what, but the post was removed. I hope that answered your question.

  • Nicole K.

    Very Encouraging post guys, thanks!

    What small thing am I doing? I am currently working on being patient with my 5 younger siblings. They can get pretty annoying and want lots of attention so my focus is to daily interact with them more so my mom can get things done, and to build deeper relationships with them. I’ve had younger siblings most of my life and though they do get agrivating, they really are a blessing. My modivator: We find it much more enjoyable spending the majority of our ‘free time’ time with each other than taking a half hour to drive into town to meet with friends. Count on it…building good relationships with your family is the best thing (besides a relationship with God!). I also am working on having a good attitude towards dilligence in hard (homeschool) highschool classes, learning Beethoven Concertos, and non-stop cooking, cleaning, and taking care of siblings with my older sister and my mom (who are very good examples to me). It’s hard, but it’s fun…and worth it! It is difficult to do alot of things 100%, but who are we doing it for? We are doing it for someone who has created us to bring Him glory and honor and who’s love and blessings continually flow over us…and He deserves our absolute best. God bless–and keep up the good work on small hard things!

  • Noella A.

    Seems to me that a few folks got off track talking about the age of the Harris twins instead o’ commenting on the encouraging post!

    Keep a single eye soldiers!

    In Christ…

  • Emma

    Hello guys! I love these posts and all of your encouraging comments! It is so encouraging to know that other teengers are focusing on what is truly important. Speaking of doing hard things, even when they are small, I have a challenge for all those girls out there. I am starting this thing at my school called the $100 Prom Challenge. I’ve been dreaming of prom since 7th grade, but this week I heard that one billion people in the world live on less than a dollar a day! So, for my prom next month, I am spending as little as possible (picking a dress out at goodwill or another thrift store, only eating desert out at a restaurant, etc.). All the money left from my $100 saved for prom I am giving away to the homeless shelter in town. Girls out there, if any of you will take my challenge I would love to see the impact it makes! Even if it’s a small hard thing! God bless! Thank you for this site! It helped me have the courage to do this!

  • Talitha Piper

    Nicole: wow. you are one busy woman.
    Emma: amen!
    Noelle: so sorry. I will keep a single eye!

  • Rachel

    As I read articles and blog posts at the Rebelution, my dreams and visions for doing the big hard things that I had always wanted to do mushroomed. I had always had my eye on doing “something big.” And now, here was a ministry teaching this very thing! I was so excited. I didn’t realize that I missed the real message of the Rebelution.

    God gently and persistently tried to make me see that I was beginning at the wrong end, but to no avail . . . until this past week. It’s nothing that I read, or a message that I listened to. I simply took time to sit quietly and think about my life, past, present and future. It’s amazing what doing what God intended for us to do with our minds can accomplish! For me, it resulted in a much-needed change of focus.

    In dreaming of doing the big hard things I had forgotten that everything begins with being found faithful in the small hard things – which often aren’t so very small at all. The small things, after all, lay the foundation for our success in the big things. I viewed the small hard things as daily, monotonous chores that I am expected and supposed to do; in which God is often the only one to notice my being faithful – and I wanted people to notice how faithful and Christ-like I was! As I’ve found, it often is monotonous and my family most likely will not cheer for me when I willingly spend quality time with them every day. That’s what I’m supposed to do! But I am building a character, and a future, no matter who notices.

    In dreaming of the big hard things I was also forgetting that God is the Author of my life story. The way I saw it (although I never would have said so), I would plan the rest of my life, inform God as to what I had decided, He would find my plans all “very good,” bless them, and proceed to work out the fine details to make these things happen. After all, didn’t He want me be to be useful and fulfilled? He did, and still does. He knew what did not. He saw everything I refused to see. Now I see it too.

    “Not what I will, not what I desire to be – but to see Your sovereign plan perfected in me.”

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