In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. Those who cleanse themselves … will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. ~ 2 Timothy 2:20-21
Simple serving pieces ~ slotted and solid, shaped and flattened, pliable and firm, pointed and rounded. Some meant for a white-clothed table. Others meant for a come as you are potluck. Others meant for the dirt and grime of the out of doors. However you have made me, Lord, let me be a serving spoon at the table of grace.
The snow is melting taking the evidence of all my hard work with it. Soon, the path I shoveled so Silver could get to the fence will be gone. The piles around the drive that I heaved so my husband could get to work and my daughter could get to school – gone. The swath I cut so my mailman could get to the box and the UPS delivery guy could get to the porch – gone. Even the sharp corner of snow on the street, piled high by the plows, that I removed to help turners come ’round the bend will soon be gone. All gone.
Nothing left. Vanished. But for the smile of the post man, the quicker step from Mr. UPS, the sigh of relief from daughter, the on time arrival of husband, and the paws that continue to find their way. Traffic will give it no further thought.
It was nothing, really. And now it is.
“Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” ~ (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
Mother Teresa said,
“In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.”
Frankly, I like to think of myself as a big thing do-er. Don’t bother me with the small stuff. If just anyone can do it, well then, let them. Don’t bother me. I’m saving myself for the one thing only I can do. Pretty arrogant, huh? Not only that, but it leaves me totally frozen in my tracks. Because how in the world do you get started on such a big thing without attending to the small?
So this Lent I have embarked on doing one small thing each day “out of the goodness of my heart.” I wrote in (this post) about realizing right away that my heart wasn’t nearly so good as I thought it was. This week I have been looking at Mother Teresa’s words and her example.
“We can only do small things with great love.”
Great love? I don’t have that either. But wouldn’t you know that sometimes when I do these small things, big stuff comes of it? Or at least it seems big to me. An encouraging email I send gets an immediate response and opens another opportunity. A kind word I offer gets smiles and opens up another conversation. A prayer I lift suggests an idea I never would have thought of but now may become a blessing of community to many.
Now where did that big stuff come from? Me? No way. The things I did were small. Trust me, exceedingly small. But they are at the bequest of the One who whispers in my ear all the time. Wendy, why don’t you….? And so I have. What have I got to lose? It’s just small stuff.
But isn’t it the small stuff we remember? The kind word, the welcome invitation, the nice note or phone call, the person who came by, the kid who sat with us when no one else would. These were small things, but for some reason they have stayed with us. In our hearts they have grown to be big things. Certainly way bigger than the acts themselves. Those people weren’t trying to change us, but, in fact, they have.
The truth I am hearing is, if I were to set out today to make a big difference in someone’s life or a big splash in the world, I would not know where to begin. And the weight of such responsibility would crush me. Imagine, though, what God might so with small things done in His love. It is this, after all, which suggests it to me in that mini voice in my ear.
He really doesn’t ask much. But then the words of my middle school social studies teacher weren’t much. I’m sure he doesn’t even recall saying, “Wendy, there’s something about your writing.”
I could never have known what those words would come to mean. Neither could he. It was a small thing. But I remember them. That’s what the spirit of love does, it brings things to mind.
What small thing has been a source of great love in your life? Would you please share it in the comments? I would be so grateful.
You know, small things add up. Just ask the weatherman who is predicting 4-8 inches of snow! Oh Goodness!!