Do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Hebrews 1:16
I ask you also to help these women who have shared my struggle in the cause of the gospel, together with Clement also and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life. Phil 4:3
I love the miraculous stories found in the Bible. You can find different lists of miracles, but there are about 83 miracles recorded in the Old Testament and about 80 found in the New Testament. Some are almost too incredible to believe. The crossing of the Red Sea by more than 2 million people, manna from Heaven or the sun standing still for Joshua just to name a few. Others, like the budding of Aarons staff or dew on Gideon’s fleece are maybe not quite as awe inspiring, yet in God’s purposes often just as important.
Almost all of them required a human participant. It took Moses to stretch out his staff over the Red Sea and it took Elijah to call down fire from the heavens. I would love to collaborate with God by having the faith to participate in something dramatic…though I can’t think of any context today that would require calling down fire from Heaven…well, maybe other than something to do with the upcoming elections!
Even though the dramatic miracles found in scripture sound somewhat exciting, maybe collaborating with God doesn’t always require something miraculous at all? It seems to me that even though there are 160+ miracles in scripture, most of what happens in the pages of Biblical history has much more to do with faithfulness, commitment and obedience rather than the miraculous.
Consider Ruth’s insistence to stick with Naomi through thick and thin. If you remember the story, Naomi lost her husband and both sons. Desolate, and in a country not her own, Naomi decided to return to her own country and extended family to see if somehow she could begin a new life again. She had two daughters-in-law that loved her, but Naomi insisted they return to their own families to begin life with new husbands. Orpah did as Naomi insisted, but Ruth would not abandon her mother-in-law. Ruth declared, “Please don’t urge me to leave you or turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”
If you study the results of this sacrificial act of devotion, Ruth would became the instrument used by God both in the lineage of King David and that of Jesus the Messiah. While Elijah’s miracle of making the widow’s oil supernaturally increase, or Daniel’s supernatural protection in the lions den are seen as very dramatic, Ruth’s act of devotion toward Naomi may have played a more significant role in the history of God’s salvation story than most of the miracles recorded in both old and new testaments.
Are miracles important? I would say, “yes!” Are selfless acts of devotion toward others maybe even more important? I think I would absolutely say, “yes!” once again.
Miracles are a part of the story of God, but maybe the best miracles are observed through simple acts of faithful, obedient and sacrificial devotion to others.
Lord, cause us to see where we can obey and sacrifice in your Name. Help us to desire to be a part of miracles that are in partnership with your Holy Spirit as we walk this path of life together with others. Help us to see the beauty of your intervention in the lives of those we know, as well as the strangers we meet along the way.