The world celebrates things done on a grand scale, the building of big things and awesome places, and it celebrates “great people” who have powerful connections, impressive credentials and great influence as celebrities.
My son and I had a conversation last night about how very differently Jesus viewed things. The disciples told the mothers of young children to get lost when they brought their little ones to Jesus for a blessing. Why would a great teacher have time for someone’s squalling brats? Be gone, women. He has bigger fish to fry.
Instead, our Savior took the children in his arms. He told his arrogant disciples that unless they became like the little ones in their simple faith, they would never see the Kingdom of God. (Matthew 18:3)
We often scorn little things in our lives, the mundane, the seemingly worthless things we do, day in and day out. The cleaning of a kitchen or bathroom, the changing of a diaper on a baby, shopping for groceries. Yet no act is meaningless when it is done in love.
Mothers know that the eye contact made with little ones while a diaper is being changed triggers some of the biggest, sweetest smiles. Augustine once said of his mother, “I would have perished a thousand times in my own filth without her care.” It really isn’t such a little thing after all, caring for a baby. Every touch and every contact with a child is a chance to ensure that child knows they are cherished, and that helps them grow.
It’s amazing what little things come into our lives from others that aren’t little at all. In the last year, I cannot tell you the number of times someone has sent me an email right at the moment when I needed encouragement. I received one from Germany a few weeks ago, and just last week, one from Northern Ireland. They were listeners who once heard me on the radio program I co-hosted. They just thanked me for the work I had done and told me what it had meant to them in their lives. The times I think that I wasted 20-some years of my life are always interrupted by a “little thing”—a kind note from someone that made all the difference, and I know it was God’s hand of kindness through people.
The example set by our Savior was unmistakable as you read through the Gospels. What you begin to see is that there are no “little things” in God’s economy when they are done in love. The woman at the well had a little conversation with Jesus – a woman he wasn’t even supposed to speak with as she was a Samaritan (and one who was co-habiting after numerous failed marriages.) That “little” conversation offered the woman eternal life — living water that would never let her thirst again. Many lives were touched in her village, because she carried that joyful message to all who would listen.
No matter how unimportant you think your life is, the little things you do matter. I have a friend I have known since high school. She has been in a wheelchair from a motor neuron disease since just after college. She lives in assisted care due to the progression of her disease. But thanks to Facebook, she is able to share music. My friend posts beautiful music videos that bless everybody who will listen. We swap music videos, and she occasionally posts on my facebook wall, “more music!” Together, we enjoy God’s blessing of music. She blesses my life.
The phone rang at home the other day. It was a very difficult day in many ways. At the other end of the line was a family friend of many years. “Just checking on you guys, seeing how you are doing…” A call at the right moment from someone who cares. What a head lifter! A “little” thing that wasn’t little at all.
What little thing can we do today that will serve someone around us? Every time I get impatient with the demands of a toddler, now nearly a preschooler, I am reminded of the example of our Lord. He could have so easily sent the mothers with children away. He had the credentials as a Big Person. But for all time He modeled for us what really matters, and He showed us how it is done when He took those babes in His arms and blessed them.
There is an old song with these words:
Does the place you’re called to labor
Seem too small and little known?
It is great if God is in it,
And He’ll not forget His own.