How we respond in the valleys pleases God more than our mountaintop victories.


At some point, we all have a desire to do something great for God. Perhaps we even think God expects us to do just that-exceptional things. We think back on our mountaintop experiences and wish our whole life could be like that. That’s when it’s time to come down to reality. For most of us, this is not the way life works because it’s not the way God works.

While the exaltation comes on the mountaintops, the work that matters most to God is what we do in the valleys-the places where the struggles reside and where the drudgery of everyday life exists. This is where our endurance is tested. Anyone can keep going when the fruit of his labor is obvious. It is the true follower of Jesus, however, who keeps trudging along when nothing seems to be “working out” and no fruit is in sight.

So, what does God really expect from us? I am convinced that He is looking for people whose minds are set on being exceptional in the ordinary things, people who do everything that life brings to the glory of God. These represent a true servant heart-to do whatever is asked in such a way that our Master is pleased. Occasionally, He thrusts us into the limelight or into situations where the results are amazing and people are rejoicing. These are the moments we remember, but God’s favorite memories of us are probably of times we have long forgotten or “work” we routinely did.


I think we get off track as soon as we first entertain the thought that we can do anything for God. The truth is that we can’t. Unless God works through us, our efforts are doomed to failure. Jesus made it clear (in John 5) that His Father is always working and that Jesus can only do what He sees the Father doing (John 5:19). The same holds true for us. If God doesn’t initiate a project, mission, or any endeavor, the results will be limited to the best of our human abilities.

I admit, it can be hard to see God at work in the drudgery of life, but our Father promised us that He would never leave us or forsake us and that He would be with us always, not just on the mountaintop. The standards Jesus set for us in the Sermon on the Mount are very high. In fact, they seem impossible, and indeed they are impossible for those who are unwilling to live in the shadows where no one notices our great accomplishments or our exceptional talents.

Jesus set the example we are to follow when He took the towel and the bowl and washed the disciples’ feet-hardly an exceptional act in the eyes of the world, but an act with exceptional results when carried out! So, the next time we find ourselves thinking about doing something great for God, perhaps we should take a closer look at how well we’re doing the everyday things-the things that really matter to God.



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