Collateral Blessings

“…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11

I recently heard a true story about a guy who promised God, "Lord, if You will help me hear Your voice more consistently, I promise to be more obedient whenever you tell me to do something." Sure enough, God immediately told him to go invite a man nearby - a complete stranger - to visit his church the following Sunday. However, when he obeyed, the man rudely rebuffed him. Confused, he gave the man a gentle response – even though that was the last thing he felt like doing - and walked away, thinking he must have either heard God wrong or had somehow messed it up. It bothered him for a while, but he finally decided that he was going to do what he had promised, regardless of the results, and accepted that he wasn’t in control of what happened after that. He decided to trust that God had a good reason for everything He asked him to do.

Fast forward a year later, at church one Sunday, a young man he had never met rushes up and greets him like an old friend; he seems overjoyed to see him. At the look of confusion on his face, the young man tells him, "We haven't met, but about a year ago I overheard you invite a man to your church. The guy was really rude to you, but you were so nice in return. I just couldn't help but think I wanted to know more about whatever it was that made you act like that, so I decided to visit your church to find out for myself. On my first visit here, I learned about Jesus and gave my life to Him. You may not know me, Mister, but what you did changed my life. I'm just grateful to have the chance to finally say thank you.”

When we ask God to help us hear His voice, and promise to be more obedient, He will often ask us to do something that is outside our comfort zone. I think He does that to show us whether or not we really mean it, because He already knows. However, we can never know the far-reaching effects of our actions. If God speaks to your heart and asks you to do something, even if it is outside your comfort zone - especially if it is outside your comfort zone - do your very best to immediately obey what He tells you. Regardless of your momentary discomfort, the opinions of others, or the results of your actions - regardless of whatever happens - it will almost always result in some kind of blessing for you. God can use anything for His kingdom purposes. After you obey what He leads you to do, leave the results up to God and let it go. He’ll let you know if you need to do anything else. What an honor and a privilege it is that God, the Creator of all that exists, considers us worthy to hear His voice and is willing to use us to help carry out His plans! The collateral blessings that occur as a result of your obedience will become some of your greatest treasures in Heaven.

Prayer: Father God, You never fail to amaze me. Your plans are for our good, never to bring us harm, but are meant to prosper us and give us hope and a future. We receive Your promises with joy and gratitude, offering our lives for Your service; wanting only to honor and glorify You in all we do. Speak Lord, Your servant is listening. Please give me a spirit of willingness to obey as soon as I hear Your call to action, in Jesus’ name, amen.

Additional Scriptures:

“Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.”

Isaiah 28:23

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.’”

Jeremiah 29:11-13

“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27

“Obedience is better than sacrifice.” 1 Samuel 15:22

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