Today I tried to brainstorm a list of examples for everyday life of “small things with a big cumulative impact.” (Is there a word for that??)
Small things, making a Big Thing, together.
2. Letters as in a, b, c.
to change history.
Think – the Bible,
the Magna Carta,
the Declaration of Independence,
You get the picture. Life altering, history changing documents, composed of small nothings.
3. Money, a dollar here, a dollar there.
4. Puzzle pieces.
Just a random pile
until someone gets the big picture,
organizes the parts,
places them just where they belong,
and they form one Big Thing.
5. Grains of rice.
A bowlful…just might save that phone that went through the wash. (Yep, today.)
And when 3 billion people depend on rice as their diet’s staple…
all those grains do make a difference.
I'm sure you could come up with a list of your own...and I'd love for you to post your ideas below!
But to take our list one step deeper, what I'm now ready to add to above list is prayer,
one fervent whisper, and then another,
small voices, small hopes, sometimes small faith murmuring,
"Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth…"
But not usually.
At least, not in my world.
He seems to do most of His Kingdom work one snowflake at a time. Then another and another and another…and voila! "Suddenly" it's an avalanche of mercy, a blizzard of provision, with drifts of grace piled so high I suddenly can’t NOT see it!
That’s what happened to me yesterday when I was in a discussion with two friends about a situation in which I’ve been increasingly involved in recent months. I blurted out, “I feel like I’m part of something Really Big…but I haven’t really done anything big.”
My wise friend Katie looked at me and said softly, “Well that’s usually how Big Things happen…a lot of small things.”
I hesitate to even list my small things; they are so small, so insignificant in the greater picture of all that needs to be done, all that is being done by others.
An e-mail here, a paypal transfer there, a prayer, a card with a scribbled note, more prayer…
What difference does it make?
But I remember a verse from an obscure minor prophet, Zechariah, whose job was to encourage the Jewish exiles as they returned to their homeland after the Babylonian captivity. Their temple was ruined, and prospects for rebuilding seemed bleak.
The work was begun but barely, and would it ever be finished? I think Zechariah was disheartened too, because God sent a vision and an angel to reassure him with these words:
Do not despise these small beginnings,
for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…”
Zechariah 4:10 NLT
From God’s mouth to Zach's ear, my ear too, and yours.
Do not despise small beginnings, or small middles either for that matter.
Because a small beginning is, after all, a beginning.
And then someone else joins in, and another and another.
This person prays, that person walks alongside, the children ask questions and pray fervently, wholeheartedly,
and from small beginnings, Big Things happen, with perhaps Bigger Things to come. Who knows???
Who knows? God. And He is the Source, the Director, the Prompter behind all the small bits.
He reminds Zechariah of this truth as well, for the angel says, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel:
‘Not by might
nor by power,
but by my Spirit,’
says the Lord Almighty."
“Don't look for big things, just do small things with great love.”
I think it’s time to stop whining about how bad the world is and use breath, energy, and small resources to make the world better in a small way. I want to be part of the avalanche of grace in someone’s life.
Gandalf’s words from The Hobbit ring true even if the book is a fantasy fiction:
“Sauron (bad guy) believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I've found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love.”
Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done…
by me, by us,
right here, right now.
Small things, great love.
Watch out for the avalanche.