Some of us think we must not have what it takes to be involved in the "Big Things" of life.
We seem to end up doing all the stuff other people don't want to do.
It's not that we mind doing it so much, it's the one constant that nags at us and drags us down:
No one seems to notice.
We're the ones who wash the dishes and pots after church suppers, then gather up the bundle of used dish towels, etc., and take them home. Of course we bring them back clean--bleached, if necessary--and folded.
No one seems to notice.
At home, with or without a paying job, we're on call to do the endless good things needed to keep our kids growing in the right direction and our home and family strong. We do it all with love and it's what we want to do. Still . . .
No one seems to notice.
It would be great if we were selfless and those around us spoke their appreciation, at least every now and then. That often doesn't happen.
Demanding perfection of ourselves--or others--is a waste
It's well to remind ourselves that we are, by definition, human and therefore, imperfect. (Isn't that why we need a Savior?)
But it's no surprise that at least once in awhile we'll think, I am really tired of being taken for granted.
Or perhaps we just sigh and think, at least I came through. Again.
I'm not perfect, but at least I was faithful. Lord, make me content with that. Thank you for strength to keep going.
As Christians, you and I know every day is a gift from God. The strength we need to live our lives is a gift, not a given.
If we forget that, we have only ourselves to depend on.
We can't know how God will use our small efforts
If you're a longtime reader, you'll know I like focusing on inspiring people. Let's look again at how God used some ordinary people.
- Edward Kimball had no particular talent, but he decided to do what he could with love and with faith. He started a Sunday school class just for teenage boys in a poor Boston neighborhood.
- A 19-year old shoe clerk, Dwight L. Moody, attended and came to faith in Jesus. Later, Moody established a successful shoe business in Chicago.
- D. L. Moody, though poorly educated, started a Sunday school class and attendance grew to 1500 each week. Then Moody began to preach the Gospel and huge crowds turned out to hear him.
- When Moody preached in Great Britain a pastor, F. B. Meyer, attended and went home a changed man. His new view of faith led him to alter his preaching style. Soon crowds began coming to hear him.
- Eventually Meyer came to the U. S. to preach and another pastor, J. Wilbur Chapman, went to hear him. Chapman became an evangelist, going from city to city.
- Soon he needed an assistant and hired a young baseball player: Billy Sunday. Billy Sunday became an evangelist. In 1894 he held a prayer meeting in North Carolina.
- Mordecai Ham attended and came to faith, then resolved to reach people for Jesus. He began preaching the Gospel throughout the rural areas of North Carolina.
- A 16-year old farm boy came to hear him: Billy Graham. You know the rest of the story.
You and I cannot know how God will use us in the lives of others
I think of Bill, whom I knew since I was growing up in the Midwest. After retirement he and his wife moved to the small city near their farm.
As he had throughout his life Bill took on small tasks. Pulling weeds on the church lawn. Sweeping up after events. Volunteering at a historical site to mow the grounds.
At his memorial service a number of younger people told how every Sunday after church Bill talked and laughed with them, then slipped each kid a stick of his favorite Blackjack gum.
One man spoke for many when he said, "The high point of every Sunday was talking with Bill. He always cheered me on and I knew he cared about me. I always chewed that stick of Blackjack, even though I didn't like it then and still don't. But it came from Bill and that was enough for me.
"I loved that simple, good man who loved me. I know now Bill kept me coming to church and kept me on track."
A stick of gum, you can't get much smaller than that
Day in, day out, this is what matters for eternity:
Our God-given call is to be faithful and to love. The rest is up to God.
Here's a lift for our tired hearts:
Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people... --Ephesians 6:7 (NIV)
[Jesus said] "If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones... " --Luke 16:0 NIV
Speaking to others about Jesus the best way we know how. Offering a child a stick of gum and a listening ear. Cleaning up pots and pans and doing laundry. Little things by themselves, every one of them.
But who knows what God will do with your "little things" and mine? Only God. And that is enough.
Strength and joy to you, my friend, day after day.