Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Small Things make a Big Difference (Final Part IV)

From "The Little Way: The Power of Small Things (Luke 13:18-21)"
Richard J. Vincent, 2006

When we focus on big events rather than the small acts, we lose patience with the small and assume we have more important things to do with our time than focus on little things. We lose sight of the fact that people – individual people – are important to God....


Authentic spiritual transformation occurs as the Kingdom of God personally encounters individuals through transformed kingdom-bearers. The change occurs one person at a time. We must never forget the importance of personal relationships in spiritual transformation – and the privilege of being a change agent for even one person! An old story makes this point well:
It was early morning. On the beach was an elderly man. He walked with a cane, carefully surveying the beach that the receding tide had left exposed. Every now and then he bent to pick something up and toss it into the ocean. I watched with fascination as he carefully scanned the beach before him. It was then that I realized
he was looking for starfish. Every time he saw one lying helpless in the sand, unable to get back to the ocean on his own, he would lovingly pick it up and toss it gently back into the sea... Curious as to why he was doing this, I approached him. He told me, "The starfish are left behind after the tide goes out. If they don't get back into the ocean they will dry up and die beneath the hot summer sun."
"But there are endless miles of beach and there must be millions of starfish," I said. "Surely you don't think you can save them all. What difference can your efforts possibly make?" Slowly the old man bent over and picked up another starfish. As he tossed it into ocean he looked at me and said, "It makes a difference to that one."

Small acts result in big change over time. Mother Teresa is right, "To God, there is nothing small." All acts contain the seed of the future and will affect lives far beyond this time and place. This gives us patience, hope, and a humble sense of accomplishment.
What would a world look like that embraced the "little way"? [The author]Maurer presents us with an attractive vision of a possible future if we would all embrace the power of small things. He invites us to
consider how the world might be different if more of us conducted our social, business, and romantic lives with the belief that small steps matter, that even the shortest contact with another person is inherently important... [There is] the  possibility that through small acts of kindness, and even small moments of compassion and curiosity, we can change ourselves – and, eventually, humanity. (Maurer, One Small Step, 176)

Perhaps this is what Jesus was getting at when he called us to be "faithful in little things." Our fascination with big things blinds us to the power of little things. Jesus was not seduced by this. He understood that it is impossible to be faithful in big things without attention to the small things: "He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much" (Luke 16:10).


Return to Home Page