Responding to my column on what I really think of Jesus, a North Carolina reader writes, “I used to dream of doing big things for God but I’ve scaled down. I hope Jesus notices the little things.”
Indeed He does. If His work in this world were limited to the big things and the big stars of the religious world, few people would be receiving any loving care. It is always the “little people” in every spiritual movement who do the work.
Recently I watched a woman of love and compassion working with pre-school children. Her gentle way of keeping their attention and helping them see the spiritual truth of the day was so beautiful. No big star of the religious world would spend a morning with a handful of squirming pre-schoolers. Yet the work going on there in that little room is as important as the main service at the Crystal Cathedral and embodies a lot more personal attention.
Jesus notices little contributions. In the gospels he tells about a little widow putting pennies into the offering plate and receiving more of His approval than a flashy big-money giver. He reminds us that man looks upon the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart.
Jesus notices small acts or worship and adoration. He was in the home of two sisters. One was cooking for Him and the other was rubbing His tired feet. When the one cooking fussed about getting no help from her sister, Jesus told her emphatically that she was doing something important. She was expressing her love in her own small way.
He did not condemn the sister who cooked. That is important, too. Most people would say it is more important to feed people than to rub their feet but once again Jesus was looking on the heart.
Your little thing for the Lord may be to take some soup to a sick person, or some reading material to someone in jail, or some food to a hungry person. These little things are so important that He once said you actually do them to Him when you do him for people. He said, “I was in prison and you visited me, I was sick and you came to me, I was hungry and you brought me bread,” and one of his students said, “Lord when was you hungry? When was you sick? When was you in prison?” and He answered, “Inasmuch as you have done it for the least you have done it unto me.”
He made this point about little things one of His main teachings. He hit that theme over and over. He even said if you give a cup of cold water, you would not lose your reward.
Often I’ve wondered why He didn’t tell people to take on huge projects in His name. It finally came to me. For one thing, we learn how to do the big projects by doing the small things. The other reason is that almost all big projects involve a lot of little people doing little jobs to accomplish the large goal.
The big project is teaching the next generation things that are important; the little thing is one teacher with a class of squirming pre-schoolers. The big project is easing the pain of world hunger and the little thing is taking soup to sick people. The big project is saving people from lives of crime and the little thing is visiting someone in jail. If the problem of crime is ever solved it will be through love and not punishment. Imprisonment only removes them from society, and that is important, but only love has ever changed a human heart.
How would your life have been without all the good people who have done little things for you? Paul Revere riding in on his horse didn’t teach you to read and write, did it? Did Paul Revere change your diaper?
Jesus had His priorities right.
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