Alec Zacaroli: Take Five Minutes to Change Your Life

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of Alec Zacaroli, author of “Obey: The Power of Love and Surrender.”

Oswald Chambers once wrote “one reads tomes on the work of the Holy Spirit, when five minutes of drastic obedience would make things as clear as a sunbeam.”  How profoundly on point he was.  What I find remarkable, however, is not so much the clarity that five minutes of obedience produces, but rather the outcomes.  When we take the opportunity to obey Jesus, if only for five minutes, the experience can be life changing.Alec Zacaroli

It took Simon Peter, James and John less than five minutes to leave the single greatest fishing haul of their lives, and everything else, to follow Jesus. Luke 5:11. Likewise, when Jesus called Levi with a simple “follow me”, it took less than five minutes for the tax collector to, again, leave everything and simply obey. Luke 5:28.  The Bible is full of examples of lives forever altered by just a moment of obedience to God.  History is replete with such stories.

Among these, one is mine; a story of convergence.  It is the convergence of my childhood experience in Africa, my wife Amy’s childhood experience in foster care, and our learning about the plight of some AIDS orphans in Cape Town.  My heart has always been for Africa and Amy’s has always been for the orphaned and vulnerable.  One evening, through an old friend, the Holy Spirit shared with us a short film about AIDS orphans taken in by Nazareth House, a convalescent home in Cape Town.  Our hearts were broken by what breaks His. It took only a matter of minutes for us to decide on obedience and follow the call.

It was an act of obedience borne not of our will, but of the Holy Spirit.  This was confirmed for me only days later, when I came across the verse Matthew 25:40 and immediately realized the significance of this ministry would only come if it was an act of Jesus, for Jesus, by Jesus.  We were a second thought.  I shared with Amy that the name of our ministry should be 25:40.

25:40, our ministry for orphaned and vulnerable children, was born of a moment of obedience to a very clear command from Christ.  Those five minutes represent a tiny fraction of a percent of my entire life. But it took just those five minutes to forever alter the course of my life.  To them, I trace nearly everything significant that has happened to me in the last 10 years – with the only possible exception being the conception and birth of my last daughter, Rebecca.  It led to life-changing experiences, life-long friendships, beautiful partnerships, seminary, and a book.

SKU-000726583I started to write Obey while on a mission in South Africa, after reflecting on what it truly meant to believe that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. John 14:6. If we really believe this, we will have one certain response, which is to obey Him.  In one sense, this led me to explore what He commands of us.  But in another, it also led me to explore what happens when we do it.  Jesus said “if you love me, you will obey what I command.” John 14:15.  I love Him.  And in His own amazing way, through the arc of life and experience, He commanded me to love some of the poorest, most neglected children on our planet in the same way I love Him.  When I followed His command, I came to fully understand why He commanded it.  It wasn’t to save others – Jesus can do that well enough on His own.  It was to bless me.  I have yet to know what it will be like to stare in the eyes of my Savior,  but looking in the eyes of a beautiful child has to be about as close as we will get on earth.  Christ doesn’t call us to obedience for His benefit.  He does it for ours.


WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us @westbowpress, or by emailing kgray@  We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

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