When God Smiles
By Debbie Rodgers
-Does everyone go through a phase when they long to do something “big” for God – you know supersized, Emmy award-winning, best-selling sort of big? And, in the midst of the whole desire is this conflict between the human definition of success and God’s view of it. Well, one day on my road to discovering how God defines “big,” I found myself in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. At the time, it was a town of about 12,000 people, which was much different that the larger market of Atlanta where I had just spoken to a large group of managers.
The hotel in Fergus Falls was much different than the Omni. The lobby was enough to make me concerned about the training room we would be in for three days. My concerns were on target. The room smelled like mold with extra furniture that was shoved up against the back wall. I went to the front desk to inquire as to when the training room would be set up, and their response was one that sent shivers up and down my spine.
“It already is,” they said.
As I reassessed the room, I realized if the tables just had tablecloths on them that would help a lot. I flagged down a housekeeper who told me that the tablecloths had been in the dryer for a really long time. The housekeeper returned with the well-wrinkled tablecloths in hand and an old iron. I found a place to set up and began the task of ironing tablecloths with a less than good attitude.
“This is not the place where careers are launched,” I thought.
I began to question what I was doing in this small town and dingy little room. I felt isolated and very insignificant. I could have lost the point of it all except that it was around that time the Lord decided to help me understand things from His perspective.
As I sat deep in my own thoughts with my back facing the windows, I had the sensation that the sun was out and its warm rays were moving across me. This would normally not be unusual except that the sun wasn’t out. The day was overcast and snowy. Nevertheless, I felt a warmth pass over me felt as though it was penetrating deep into my soul. God wanted me to understand something, and He had my attention. As the sunlight moved across my back, I could feel the smile of God. There in Fergus Falls, Minnesota, ironing table cloths in a small, musty-smelling room… inside my soul, I felt God smile. In that instant, it was as though He was saying, “what you are doing right now makes me happy.”
My question of what big is to God began to be answered in that place on that day, and it wasn’t what I had expected. I wasn’t doing anything headline worthy, but the simple act of ironing tablecloths for others seemed to resonate with the Creator. This was a moment in time when just one individual all alone in one room, did something unseen by human eyes – something really small in worldly terms. That day I wasn’t alone after all. Someone was looking. God was looking, and what I think God saw in me was something of Himself. God is looking for fruitfulness not success, and fruit comes in all sizes.
God’s smile helped me to see what is really important in a world that cannot possibly understand these things without Him. His equation simplified the complicated and made “the big” a reasonable thing to accomplish everyday for everyone. When we use what we have to love others, good fruit is produced. That is when we build on a foundation that is already laid (I Corinthians 3:11). That is what makes God smile and that, is big.
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Debbie Rodgers is a sixth generation Texan and a graduate from the University of Texas in Austin. She started DRodgersGroup,Inc. over 15 years ago with a focus on corporate training and development. Themes of her life message focus on inspiring individuals to live proactively, improving interaction with others through understanding, and living life on genuine terms.
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