And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones who is my disciple, truly I tell you, that person will certainly not lose their reward. - Jesus, Matthew 10:42
And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Paul, Colossians 3:17
Recently I got together with my friend Daniel, another pastor whom I deeply enjoy spending time with. We drink tea, talk about struggles and joys of ministry and we pray together.
Daniel has a knack for seeing God at work everywhere and seeing opportunities to live out discipleship everywhere-- no matter how small. I arrived at our meeting spot just after he did, and he didn’t know I was behind him as he walked inside. Every few steps he stopped, bent over, and picked up a small piece of trash. He has a habit of doing this everywhere he goes. He is committed to making God’s world more beautiful. Whether it’s a kind word to a sad person, a simple prayer in his head for a stranger passing by, or a handful of trash picked up to care for the earth we’ve been given…. nothing is too little to be meaningless.
How easy is it for us to do nothing because we convince ourselves that a little isn’t enough to really make a difference?
Last week I wanted to start running again after taking a few weeks off. My schedule was limited on the day I wanted to start, however, and I only had about a 20 minute gap in the afternoon. In my past life of long distance running, I would have scoffed at a 20 minute run, since anything under 5 miles wasn’t even considered legitimate in my mind. Twenty minutes is not enough to even make a difference, I would have told myself. So I almost didn't do it. However, this week, I took the opportunity that was in front of me. It wasn’t a lot. But it made a difference. It got me running again. And it was a glorious 19 minutes of wind in my face and time outside with Jesus.
As we journey with Jesus, we are constantly confronted with the temptation to do nothing because we can't do everything.
I don’t have an hour to sit in silence with God today. So I won’t even pray on my drive to work, because it’s not enough to make a difference.
A text message letting someone know that I care takes so little effort, that it probably would feel meaningless. It’s not enough to make a difference, so I guess I won’t send it.
There’s SO much trash in the world! What difference does it make if I pick up ONE piece of litter?
There are millions of homeless people in our country. I can’t change that. So I won’t do anything.
The Bible is way too intense and confusing to understand it all. So I won’t read any of it, because
I won’t learn enough to make a difference.
Our marriage is so screwed up that it is beyond repair. So I won’t set my pride aside and do the little kind thing that I know I could do, because it probably wouldn’t make a difference anyways.
Every day we are confronted with little invitations to enter into deeper life with Jesus, and little opportunities to build God’s kingdom in our world. And every day we convince ourselves that little isn’t worth our effort. So every day we miss out.
What is the thing today that you think is too small to make a difference in God’s kingdom?
Where do you feel paralyzed by an overwhelming task? Trust God, and just start wiggling a toe.
Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love. -Mother Teresa
God, thank you for inviting us into your mustard seed kingdom. Take our small efforts and grow them into something transformative.