I have always liked little things. To a fault really. It doesn't much matter what the thing is, if I see a little version of that thing, it makes me happy. For example, there is nothing very exciting about a frying pan, but if I see a little miniature version of a frying pan, I will almost certainly say, "Awwww that is so cute!" (Just ask my husband. He has long found this to be a confusing fact about me, but he will readily admit that it is true.)
Don't worry, I'm not here to convert everyone to loving baby frying pans, but I do have some thoughts to share about little things. And why maybe they matter more than we tend to think.
Once I was playing a game of pick-up sticks with my oldest son. (In case you're not familiar, this game involves a pack of thin wooden varying-colored sticks that are held in one person's hand as a bundle and then dropped onto a flat surface. The goal of the game is to pick up as many sticks as you can, one at a time, without disturbing/moving any other sticks. Your turn ends when you move more than one stick.)
In this particular game, I happened to pick up a lot of yellow sticks. (Yellow sticks are worth one point, whereas some of the other colors are worth 2, 3, 5 or 10 points.) I also happened to win the game. By one point. After we counted up the points and discovered I won, my son said, "It's good you did get all those little one-pointers." In some ways, it may have seemed like a waste of time to try to get a bunch of one-pointers. Wouldn't have it been better to go for the 5 or 10 pointers, or at least the ones worth 2 or 3 points?
Well, I'm no pick-up sticks expert, but his comment stuck with me (no pun intended), and I have to wonder if part of the reason is because it parallels a bigger truth. It's the idea that the little things may matter more than we think they do.
Recently I was reminded of this Mother Teresa quote: "Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love." Don't we often feel like the impact we see something having has a direct correlation to how much it matters? Who among us ever feels like we're changing the world while we pick up a piece of trash or tie a kid's shoe?
But what if, somehow, we actually are?
Oh sure, maybe not in a way that we will ever see. And it's not like we should suddenly start walking around feeling all important about ourselves - look at us! We're changing the world! But maybe it can be energizing to consider that there is something people sometimes call "God's reverse economy" and it is more true and longer-lasting than the world's economy.
The normal "world-economy" way of seeing little things is that they just don't really make very much of a difference. The littler the thing I'm doing, the littler I feel as a person. And the bigger the thing I'm doing, the bigger and more valuable I feel.
But what if the size of what we do isn't actually the thing that matters? Whether it's a big thing or a small thing is almost irrelevant compared with what it is that is propelling me. How does Paul put it in that famous love chapter in 1 Corinthians? ... If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
In other words, if I do the biggest things you can imagine but don't have the love of God, none of it even matters. But on the flip side, what if the reverse is also true? That if I do the smallest things you can imagine WITH the love of God... could it be those things make a bigger difference that I can imagine?
If all this is true, then it's really not about the size of our actions at all, it's about the size of our God. His power working within us is what makes all the difference.
So I will go on liking little things, and you can feel free to join me if you'd like, or call me a little crazy. But no matter how you feel about the value of little things, I hope you and I can both remember that what makes anything count, whether big or small, is the love and presence of God.
If we want to make a difference, the best thing we can do is to continually draw near to God. As we grow in our awareness of His love and open the doors of our hearts more and more to Him, it becomes less about what we're doing and more about what He is doing in and through us. Lord, have Your way!
Pray with me...
... God, grow us to be worshipers as students, teachers, parents, and all in the BCS/WCA community.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth. John 4:24
... Holy Spirit, move in and through us in powerful ways.
for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. Philippians 2:13
... Lord, be glorified and let Your will be done, in the final quarter of this school year and planning for the future.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. Ephesians 3:20-21
Soli Deo Gloria
To God alone be the glory
~ Carrie Warner, BCS/WCA Prayer Team Coordinator
Thanks for taking the time to read this blog and pray for BCS/WCA. My plan is to publish weekly on Wednesdays, Lord willing. Feel free to subscribe (at the bottom of this page) if you’d like to be notified each time a new blog post has been published.