I like the small side of life. Those little beauties that are often overlooked. Tiny things, when noticed and appreciated, create a thankful heart posture and a rich life.
Hand written notes sent by stamp, a newly fallen maple leaf in autumn, the sizzle of an outdoor grill, hoodies on a chilly day, a sparkling clean kitchen, freshly cut flowers on the dining room table, an “I’m just thinking about you” text, a magnificent book I cannot put down, handing cash to a homeless person, a long walk with a friend, a dog giving me her paw, family dinners, lavishing a gift upon someone just because, that one Bible verse leaping off of the page and suddenly making sense as the Holy Spirit nudges.
Our particular sphere of influence may be small, but I am remembering today that that specific sphere is also a gift from God. He plants us in different locations for seasons of life, and he gently calls us to be faithful wherever that may be. We do not know our own future, and that is as it should be. We are not God.
1 Corinthians 3: 6-7 (NASB) says: I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.
Steady faithfulness shines brightly in the midst of division and anger and broken relationships. We do not cause anyone to grow spiritually. If we are humble and faithful, willing to be guided and corrected, the Lord God will bring about growth in His timing. It is not our work to save anyone; that is a work of God as we encourage and teach and pray. Those small kindnesses, and little acts of faithfulness are never wasted. God uses them all.
Many times, as we face hardship and pain, it is easy to forget the small joys and beauty that God has given us. Do, do, do. Always frantic, always working, joy-less. This always becomes self-focused, causing more harm; never gracious.
There is a beckoning; a better way if you choose to listen. Stop the striving, and serve with joy. Striving is working to earn a place of recognition, it is burdensome and weighed down and complaining and heavy. This is easy to spot in others, but difficult to call out in myself. Serving with joy is more like “my burden is easy and my yoke is light.” The doing is not frantic, but giving, peaceful, and happy. This serving will still be a sacrifice of time and perhaps money, but it is wrapped up beautifully with a bow of peace.
When I was small, I remember holding my grandfather’s hand somewhere in Downtown Boston one Sunday after church. We were making our way to Legal Sea Foods restaurant, where I always ordered my favorite clam chowder. My grandfather lavished his family with good gifts, and going out to fancy restaurants was one of them. I always felt important to him, mainly because he spoke my love language of gift-giving. And with each gift, he never once reminded me of what he had done for me in the past; and this, too, was another gift in itself. I felt honored, and cherished, and important.
That day, as we were walking, we passed a fountain. I looked over the edge, and noticed what seemed to be a million coins: pennies, nickels, dimes, and even quarters, covered in the fountain water. That is a wishing well. Make a wish and it might come true! My Grandpa handed me some loose change from his pocket, and I tossed it, making my wish.
Most adults were walking by, ignoring the wishing fountain, and the treasure that lay within arms reach. I think I am sometimes like that: the riches of God are within reach, and I am oft that foolish person, walking right by treasure that is mine for the taking. I would rather work things out on my own, ignoring the small joys of life, working, working to earn something that I have already been given.
So I am thankful for small things today. I am also thankful for God’s goodness, and forgiveness, and mercy. Those big things that He lavishes upon his children.