A tall solitary man gazes down into the closed eyes of his mother, a tear sliding down his cheek as he says goodbye. A little hand slides into his in silence as his granddaughter stands silently by his side; watching the stillness in the coffin and the grief on his face. No words are spoken and no grand expressions are made; the two simply stand together.
Almost ten years later, there was another funeral and the little girl, now a teenager, was asked if she wanted to come to the funeral. She didn’t know the widower very well, had never met any of his family, and yet her answer was, “That’s okay, we’re going to offer comfort and support”.
There was so much wisdom in the words of my daughter that day. Her pure motives were so refreshing and encouraging. The reason why – in every situation – is to bring comfort, encouragement and live out the love and compassion of our God.
Why do we keep helping? Why do we keep working on relationships that are hard? Why do we keep trying to love those who reject us? Why do we keep pouring ourselves out into the pain of those around us?
The answer is simple – even though it is not easy. We keep going that we might be a living example of the hand of God in the lives of those around us.
Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.
And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.
Without agenda, without recompense or reward, we are called to serve and love one another.
My command is this: love one another as I have loved you.
I have had many conversations with people who claim that they can’t do this thing or they can’t do that thing, so they just can’t serve. We have spent many years in a church environment where the service focus has primarily been foreign missions or travelling preachers. Those are both worthy and even invaluable ways to serve. Many souls have been won to Christ through the work of these devoted missionaries.
Sometimes, and I think too often, we look at those big works of spreading the gospel and we forget about the daily hugs and words of encouragement that send children to school and spouses to work, the meal for a person in need, the afternoon folding laundry or washing dishes for someone who is unwell or the physical ministry of helping with car and house repairs. How many hours have quiet Christians spent listening to a friend? There are so many brothers and sisters who are faithfully serving in all of the tiny moments that are pivotal in exemplifying God’s love.
For many years, I felt that my work for God was not big enough. I am a stay at home mum. I homeschool my children. I do not contribute to our home in a significant financial way. I didn’t go on to graduate studies in my field. My husband and children don’t rise up every day and call me blessed. It was easy to fall into the trap that I wasn’t ‘doing’ enough for God. I didn’t travel around the world, I didn’t have a large audience, publishers weren’t clamouring for my books, I wasn’t getting paid to go on speaking tours. I was just small.
What a gift that realization was when I finally got it. I am small and the things I do may be small (really what isn’t small compared to the work on the cross?), but every single time I am faithful and obedient in loving others with Christ-likeness, I am an apostle of God’s love and that is HUGE!
Without agenda, without recompense or reward, we are called to serve and love one another. Every decision we make can be rooted in our purpose to love one another.
If you are struggling to find value in the ‘little things’ that you are doing, I encourage you with the mustard seed,
He put another parable before them, saying, “The kingdom of Heaven is alike a grain of mustard seed that a man took and sowed in his field. It is the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.”
Are your little acts of faithfulness drawing others to nest in the branches of God’s eternal love for them?