I spend seconds, which slip into minutes and pile up into days, months, years, decades, doing the small things that must be done but will be forgotten by noon. First thing this morning I stretched, made my bed, ate a piece of toast and a hard-boiled egg, brushed my teeth, made a to-do list, (comprised mostly of things that are priorities to my responsible husband, and lower priorities to don’t-bog-me-down-with-practicalities me) checked email, got side tracked…
That was all “first thing”. Most of my life is like that. I groan with King Solomon, “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” I long for the big, the grand, to make a difference, change the world, live up to even one of the things the long-forgotten speaker at my high school graduation surely promised.
How Jesus Wasted Time
Jesus did big things. He “conquered death and Hades,” brought sight to the blind, set the prisoner free, raised the dead. How did he do these things?
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey said,
“the glory of Christianity is its claim that small things really matter…the one man, the one woman, the one child are of infinite worth to God.” (As quoted by Tish Harrison Warren)
Jesus “wasted” hours enjoying a long dinner at the home of a short-statured, much hated tax collector. He sat beside a well in the heat of the day and conversed casually with a woman of questionable morals. He wandered around. He directed most of his teaching to just 12. Sometimes he narrowed the class to only 3.
Change the World
An adaptation of Dr. James Allan Francis’s famous essay One Solitary Life says of Jesus,
“He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…(but)
I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life.”
If I want to be like Jesus, I don’t have to set out to change the world. Instead, like him, I can focus on joining my heavenly Father in caring for small people. Not everyone does the same small things in the same ways, but everyone can do something. Here are a couple of ways.
Jesus spent a lot of time during his 3 years of ministry walking around and welcoming interruptions by hurting people around him. This weekend I heard a conference speaker say that though he is an introvert, he makes it his goal never to leave the grocery store without speaking to at least one person. He thinks of silly things to say that make people smile. I could do that.
The smallest person in the world, as measured by influence or freedom, must be a woman in an impoverished country. Though each one is precious to God, she is expendable to almost everyone else. She is prey. Often she doesn’t even value herself. One of the great tragedies of our time is that there is a constant stream of these women sold, or deceived into lives of slavery, trafficked.
If I run into that most undervalued and used woman in line at my local Safeway, I probably won’t recognize her. My resources are small; the problem is big. I’m overwhelmed by it and tempted to do nothing.
I have found a small thing I can do about it. In addition to talking to sad women in grocery stores, I dedicate time, and a small percentage of my financial resources to an organization dedicated to small people.
One More Example: Loving the World, One Small Person at a Time
Through making connections with people ministering in vulnerable countries, Get Hope Global equips local ministry leaders or foreign workers with Biblically-based business curriculum. Micro-loans are also available where needed. Using these resources, and the free teacher training HOPE supplies, a leader forms a circle of vulnerable women or girls, and week after week, they offer a feast of dignity, hope, and know-how. One small circle at a time they become shining lights in dark places. They have resources to feed their children. The children go to school, and begin to have the strength to embrace hopes of their own. Light shines. Sometimes they employ other women or girls and light shines brighter. Little by little, the world changes.
I serve with Get Hope Global because it is my small way of joining God in the big work he is already doing. Each little person on this planet matters to God.