The next thing

I went to a Casting Crowns concert recently. I am a fan of Christian music and praying with music is one of my favorite ways to connect to Christ. There is something different about being at the concert though. You can feel Christ in a very tangible way. If you look around the venue with your heart and not your eyes, you can clearly make out His image. If you let the words set in, in some cases it is as if Christ is speaking right to you. Casting Crowns has been one of my favorite bands since I started listening to Christian music and their stories that they share live always touch my heart. This concert was no different. 

They released an album last September titled, “The Very Next Thing” that included a song by the same name. The lead singer Mark Hall spoke about this at the concert. He said it comes from this desire for us to follow Christ but that it cannot be on our terms. If we want to follow the path that Christ is calling us to follow, that must include every step He is asking us to take. Including the very next thing that we are being asked to do.

The second verse of their song states so beautifully: “Let my very next breath breathe out a song of praise to You. With my very next step be on a road that was planned by You. Lord, wherever You’re leading me that’s where I want to be.” 

I loved that thought that we are not waiting for some big moment to follow, but just the next step that we are being called to take. Our very next step that we take is on a path that God has designed for us. It’s not just in our future but it is very much in our present.

In the next verse we hear, “With the very next words of love to be spoken to the very next heart that’s shattered and broken. To the very next way You’re gonna use me show me the next thing. I’ll do the next thing.” 

Casting Crowns reminds us that it is not in the life-changing moments that we are doing His will but in the words of love that we speak and the moments of compassion that we engage in. It’s that time when we reach out to a friend who is hurting, or when we forgive someone who has harmed us, or the generosity we show to someone in need, that we are doing the very next thing that God has called us to do.

Finally the chorus of this song sums up beautifully what we need to do: “Eyes wide open I see You working all around me You’re on the move. Step by step I’m running to meet You in the next thing, in the next thing.” We need to run to meet Jesus, one step at a time, into the very next thing that He calls us to. And when we have met Him there, we need to run to Jesus, one step at a time, into the very next thing He calls us to.

This is the summary of the Christian life. Every day we should be taking one more step into the next thing that Christ is calling us to, whether is it something big like a new job, a new house, a new child, or something in our simple day-to-day life; helping a stranger, reaching out to a loved one who is not feeling well, or helping with your Church. During this Holy Week, let us focus on the steps we need to take to follow Christ more closely. Let us listen to His voice to hear the next thing He wants to lead us to! Happy Holy Week!

Anchor columnist Amanda Tarantelli has been a campus minister at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth since 2005. She is married, a die-hard sports fan, and resides in Cranston, R.I. 

She can be reached at atarantelli@bishopstang.org.


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