It was a small thing. A good friend joined me for breakfast this morning on our front porch, as it was raining and we were unable to sit outside at our favorite breakfast place (we’re COVID cautious.). He always orders a glass of milk, so I had that waiting for him when he arrived. “Wow, I even have a glass of milk!” I could tell that he really appreciated me serving him his favorite breakfast drink.
Many times in life, the small things get overlooked. Particularly in America, the emphasis is on big things, like changing the world, having the most likes or a large following on social media, or donating a large amount of money to a cause. Big things tend to garner attention while small things do not, except to the person on the receiving end of them.
Jesus pointed out that doing small things, like giving a thirsty person a cup of water or giving a very small donation can be very significant in the Kingdom of God. Thus, small things can be meaningful, both to the giver and to those receiving them.
The ministry I direct is going through a time of rebuilding. Like college sports teams, ministries annually need a good “recruiting class” to maintain growth. For several consecutive years, we failed to attract many new students, and, thus, became smaller and smaller as students graduated and moved on. At the start of the spring semester last year, we had a number of new students start coming to our events, and then the pandemic struck. Those new students, once this school year began, were nowhere to be found. So, in many ways, we found ourselves in the same place we were last year. Yet, some small things have happened during the first two months of the year that have us encouraged. Some new students showed up at our first event and have stayed involved. One of those new students invited another fellow freshman to our large group meeting this week. To have a half-dozen new students added to our group is a small thing, but it is so encouraging!
And let me brag on my wife a little bit. She is gifted in the small things. This morning, while taking a student to a doctor’s appointment, she made her a London Fog tea latte because she doesn’t like coffee. The young lady had never had one and loved it! Several weeks ago, one of our freshman had a birthday, her first away from home. My wife brought a birthday balloon and a gift bag to our large group meeting to give to her. She was totally surprised. And last week, when we had a spontaneous outing to a food truck serving funnel cakes and a student with a broken ankle was unable to come, she bought a funnel cake and sent it with a student to give to her. Small things that bless others.
Many of us aim to do big things and there is nothing inherently wrong with that; however, in pursuing those, we often overlook the significance of small things. Jesus never did. No one ever did bigger things than he did like raising the dead and healing the sick, but he was a master in the small things as well. Giving time and attention to the less valuable of his society, such as women and children. Touching a leper. Washing feet. Shedding tears. Small things that the Gospel writers recorded and we still read about more than 2000 years later.
In the last six months, people have lost so much as a result of the pandemic. As a result, there is an emphasis on big things, like the development of a vaccine and government action on a big scale. But often unnoticed are the small things people are doing, like organizing food drives for people now unemployed, sewing masks, and offering activities for children in order to relieve over-stressed parents. These are small things, but they are having significant impact on individual lives.
While we may be drawn to doing big things, we must remember our Lord placed a high value on doing the small things. The world may pay little or no attention to them, but he certainly will.
© Jim Musser 2020