Concerning the Small Things

I have a friend with chronic anxiety, who often cannot leave her house, and when she does leave, it’s usually to travel short distances and only for a short period of time. She tells me she is disappointed in herself – that she feels she will never do great things. She thinks great things are in the big things. And she wants to do great things because she has a loving heart.

I told her great things are really in the small things, done faithfully and selflessly. As Mother Teresa said: “We can not do great things. We can only do little things with great love.” This, I assured my friend, she does well.

I believe it is in the small things that a person will reveal their character and the state of their faith. As James 2:15-17 states: “Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food.  If one of you says to them,’Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead”.

The opportunity to show loving-kindness in small ways, abounds each day.

That phone call that you made to say “hi” to a dear friend, even when you’re tired, busy, head-achy (fill in the blank) — It’s a small thing, but also very powerful …

That 5 or 10 minutes you took to visit with an anxious friend who needed a quick hand-squeeze for courage …

Choosing to let the lady with the fussing child, go ahead of you at the grocery store – even when she has more items to ring through. Small, yes – but also very powerful to make a positive impact on an otherwise difficult day for a frazzled Mom and tot …

Smiling at a stranger …

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt …

Telling the truth when leaving others in the dark would benefit your own interest …

Refusing to participate in, or be anywhere near, people who gossip about others – hugely powerful – for it is fool-hardy to underestimate the power of ungracious words and attitudes – they are capable of discouraging a person’s spirit …

The opportunities abound.

These small things go against the grain of selfishness and self-interest. They put us a little out of our way – mess up our carefully selected plans for the day. And they are usually not accompanied by applause, accolades and reassurances of what a wonderful person we are. In fact, they often seem to go unnoticed … seem to …

But, these small things very quietly and steadily, add up to a life well lived.

A life of faith navigated authentically … truthfully … ultimately revealing the character of one who loves greatly.

And that truly is …

a great thing.


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