My friend, Reiko Wright, and I met last year at She Speaks, a Christian women’s speaker/writer/leader’s conference. We instantly connected as we sat by one another at each of the meals at the conference. As God would have it, I shared a room with Reiko this January at the She Speaks Intensive. Our time together was a true gift, and our conversations rich and filled with truth. Enjoy Reiko, as she so sweetly shares her heart and love for Jesus.
I listened to a women’s teacher lead a Bible study this past week and she mentioned keeping her hymnal nearby when she spent time alone with God. Since I did not grow up in the church and since I haven’t gone to an “old school” church with hymns before, it never occurred to me to use hymns as a devotional or prayer aid. I love hearing ways other people engage God and often try them myself so I downloaded an album onto my phone and listened one morning while getting dressed at the gym. The simple lyrics moved me to near tears as the sweetness of all God has done for me washed over me through the words. Upon returning home, I looked up the words and read them again along with the testimony of the writer.
As a writer, stories are the air I breathe. In fact, when I get to heaven, I’ve already asked God if I can record the testimonies of grace. Hymns are rich with testimony. Many of them were written at or in response to turning points in the artist’s life. This particular hymn is called “Just as I am, Without One Plea,” and was written in 1835 by a woman named Charlotte Elliott. As I read the brief narrative, a statement made by her brother, a full-time minister, struck a chord. About his sister’s hymn, Mr. Elliott said:
“In the course of a long ministry, I hope I have been permitted to see some of the fruit of my labor, but I feel that far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister’s.”
To understand what makes these words so powerful one must consider the context. Ms. Elliott lived in Victorian England where women had no legal rights, financial security, or social standing apart from their fathers or husbands. Ms. Elliott’s impact on the faith of others was not limited by her lack of power, position or prestige. I doubt she had any inkling of how God would be glorified. She simply expressed her faith through the words of this hymn and almost two-hundred years later, the ripples impact my faith.
So much of life is made up of simple things. Very little is deep. When it comes to a faith filled life however, the simple things can have a profound impact. For example, as a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, writer and speaker, most of my day is dedicated to simple things: laundry, correcting papers, reading, studying, groceries, etc. Deep things happen occasionally, but more as the exception rather than the rule. Somehow, the deep things are the experiences which seem to matter the most.
I read this verse the other day and it opened my eyes to the significance of simple things.
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31
What could be simpler than eating or drinking? There is nothing deep about them. But God has given us a glimpse even the simplest things can bring Him glory. Everything I do can be an act of worship. I carried this thought with me as I did laundry and prayed for God to be glorified in the way I care for my family. As I spent time studying to write, I prayed this time would be an act of devotion. As I taught my son about independent clauses, I asked for God to multiply my small offering. As I spent undistracted time with my husband, I prayed God would be honored in my priorities.
I learned a rich lesson. Everything I do, whether simple or deep, can bring Him glory, honor and praise and I often won’t know which ones will ripple into eternity.
Written by Reiko Wright
You can read more from Reiko at www.reikowright.com.