She slowly climbed the steps to the platform and took her place behind the microphone. Although her appearance was noticeably aged, her voice was clear and strong as she addressed the audience.
The audience who had gathered to celebrate the ministry’s thirty year anniversary.
The ministry she had started three decades ago. One that no doubt began as a quiet dream in her heart and a whispered calling on her life and then grew until she was compelled to action.
I don’t know her, and quite frankly, I can’t even remember her name. But the passion and sense of fulfillment that laced all of her words struck me.
She had devoted her life to one thing. And God had provided and protected that ministry, causing it to bear thirty years worth of fruit in the lives of countless young women.
As I sat at the table listening to her speak, I thought about the idea of one thing.
Has God called us to only one thing that shapes our decisions and guides our investment of time and resources? Has He commissioned us for only one thing — one piece of the Kingdom puzzle to do wholeheartedly?
Is there only one thing or are there many things? Has God designed our lives to have a singular focus or a multitude of pursuits?
Of course, life demands of us in many ways, and we all wear various hats and have a host of responsibilities. And as seasons shift, our one thing may evolve into something new or sharpen in focus. But is there an overarching ‘one thing’ from which all of the smaller things flow?
The reality is we are often too spread thin and feel too scattered to do any one thing well. Endless tasks and various pursuits and constant commitments fill our days. There are feelings of restlessness, purposelessness, fear of missing the one thing, anxiety about choosing God’s best over the plethora of good. Longing to do all things well, but realizing we can’t. Wishing we had nine lives, but accepting the reality we only have one life to live well.
As the crowd erupted in applause, she took the hand of a nearby gentleman who helped her off the stage and walked slowly to her seat. I thought about the joy and satisfaction she must feel in this moment to see her life’s work going forward and affecting change for the glory of God and the good of mankind.
While waiting for our table to be invited to the buffet line, I leaned over to my friend and voiced these thoughts.
“Perhaps the one thing is the gospel,” she said wisely.
The love of Christ compels us (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Compels us to turn dreams into ministries and callings into lives affected for Christ. Compels us to take risks in His name and ask for more than we could possible imagine. Compels us to work hard and pray harder and give Him all the glory.
Later as the sun was sinking to the horizon and my husband and I settled into matching patio chairs, I again tried to articulate these swirling thoughts.
“You are doing one thing,” he said.
Thinking about too many commitments that pull me in too many directions and lists that are longer than the day, I stared at him blankly.
He proceeded to tell me how all those things relate to the one thing God has called me to do.
And I began to see it.
Sometimes the forest is lost in the trees.
Sure there were a few things outside of the one thing — commitments that I may have to re-evaluate — but I could faintly see how God was knitting all those activities together to form one thing.
What if you filtered all of your activities and commitments through that one thing that you know is deep in your heart? What would you have to eliminate from your schedule in order to focus on that one thing God has called you to? The one thing He has created you for? And do you have the courage to say no to lesser things — things that don’t fit the unique way God has fashioned and formed you?
I don’t want to waste this life, and I don’t imagine you do either.
Who knows? Maybe in thirty years, we will be addressing a crowd with that same sense of fulfillment and satisfaction, having done one thing well for His glory.
And we will hear those words we longed to hear.
Well done, faithful servant.