1 John 4:11-12
Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
Last week I planned on volunteering at a couple different organizations around the community. I guess I expected to be able to jump right in and start helping people. However, there was a lot of paperwork involved in before I could even start. So last week it was all about just signing up. I see how even the simple small act of just saying yes i want to help was a praise to God. Each time I signed up to do something else, I was really saying I was choosing to follow what God was asking of me. Through this I was showing him praise in action. Well, besides paperwork I now have to go through some training. Monday at the women’s shelter I have signed up for, I was stuck in a quiet room and given a bunch of training materials to read. I have to log 25 volunteer hours worth of training before I am able to start working. Logically this makes sense. I am not sure why I thought it would be any different. I guess I just had imagined to hit the ground running and just jump in.
I often find my expectation in life is to take a giant leap forward. Yet, again God keeps reminding me to move forward with purpose one must take steps. Small acts are sometimes better than large ones. Don’t get me wrong, taking a large leap forward is sometimes what is required. It can be a big leap when you first decide to follow Jesus. Then life continues to teach you how small steps are equally important. It is how you grow in strength. It is how you become rooted in faith. Not by just the big decisions in life but by the small ones too.
I have been reading this book by Heidi Baker which has given inspiration about Loving the one. She consistently points out God does just call us to love everyone but also the one right in front of us. Sometimes we are so busy trying to make a big impact we miss the one who had been there right before us. I know I have done this more than one occasion. I am sure I may miss someone in the future, but my desire is by seeing the small I will understand the bigger picture. There was this book I read a few years ago which was all about the small things in this world we often overlook. It was called Pilgrim to Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard. It is a Pulitzer Prize winning book about one woman’s theology on life. For me her voice and language had an intensity I had never found by other authors. Yet, there was also simplicity and beauty in the words she used to describe each subject. There is a section in the book where Annie has gone into the woods to write. As she is sitting under a tree she sees an ant going about his day. She ended up writing on her observations of the ant. It stands out to me the most as I remember the book, because I remember thinking if this how God sees us. Are we like the ant? Do we just go about our day unaware someone is watching and recording what we are doing?
I used to think of God this way. As only someone who looks down on us from above. Now I understand he is with us. He walks beside us as we make life’s pilgrim. The change in understanding now shows me how when we love each other in small ways we make a greater impact than we can realize at the time. Small acts made out of love have great power. Seeing small does not mean we have to be small. As I left the women’s shelter yesterday, I had to sign out. In the lobby were three women; one was on the computer, one was standing beside her and the third was watching the small child running around the room. The small child came over to me and said hello. I greeted him with a big smile. As I turned around he pointed up to the sandwich back in my and asked” What is that?” I and the young lady watching him both said “carrots” at the same time. Without thinking I asked her if he could have some. She replied with a “yes”. I then bent over to offer him some of the carrots. I explained how he could have some, because I had plenty. He lit up with delight as he reached in and pulled out three baby carrots from the bag. I then looked up and two of the ladies were now in front of me. I asked if he would want more later, and offered for them to take the entire bag. The agreed he would probably want some more ,and said thank you before taking the bag from my had. I reassured them it was no problem because I had a big bag still at home. Then I left.
Driving home all I could think was how the small act of kindness had probably brightened their day. Then I thought about how because I had more carrots I home I was eager to offer them to others. I had more than enough. I wonder if we treated everything this way, then we would be more open to loving the one in front of us. If we know we have more than enough to share, we won’t be so greedy to keep it for ourselves. When LOVE is more than enough it becomes Bold. Through this boldness we can reflect the grace God has given us. We can make praise and action and not just a word.