Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Little Things Add Up

“Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. 
Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
Luke 12:7 ESV

I have been privileged to become immersed in disability ministry over the past five years. I do not have a family member affected by disability but am blessed to say that I have gained many friends who are affected by disability. Admittedly, I came into disability ministry focused on the big picture as that is my natural inclination. Can I design an event that serves families well? Can I oversee a huge training conference so that more churches hear and become aware? Can I grow my department at Joni and Friends at a breakneck pace?

While these might not be bad goals to have and I know that my heart was sincere, my new friends have taught me a different way to go about ministry.

There is often more power in a whisper than a shout!

There is often more lasting influence through a conversation than a presentation.

There is often a greater chance for relationship over coffee than through an email.

Jesus spent the majority of His time on earth with his small group, the disciples. And even then, His inner circle received even more relational time. While the preaching and teaching and healing of the crowds was a major mark of His ministry, Jesus understood that it’s the little things that add up.

I wonder if the disciples would have truly stood for what they did throughout the book of Acts if not for the personal touch of Jesus on their lives. Would mighty proclamations from the top of the mountain have been enough? Having attended countless conferences and rallies in my life, my hunch is that it would not have been.

However, lasting relationship happens through a cup of coffee, a well-timed smile or just the willingness to lend a listening ear. I am so grateful for new friends who compel me to slow down so that I can hear not just their words, but more importantly their heart. If God cares enough to number the hairs on my head, that is reason enough for me to care about the little things in the lives of those around me. This is not easy for me as I naturally focus on the big picture, the vision and the goals of life.

Part of the challenge for me is that the little things are rarely noticed and don’t typically seem to bear immediate fruit. I’m highly competitive and love to win. Big events, programs, and activities provide instant feedback and a sense of accomplishment. But after the lights fade and the chairs are put away, God desires all of us to be engaged in healthy and sustainable relationships. And these come about from doing the little things, over and over and over, and then suddenly realizing that God has created a beautiful friendship based on hearing, listening and being in the moment.

I know that some of you do this naturally and I am so grateful because you compel the people like me to slow down and smell the roses. Please don’t compromise the little things and don’t ever allow the big picture people like myself to get so wrapped up in our events and projects that we pass up opportunities to sit down and hear a story. And if you are like me, while we might not admit it, we need the little things just as much as everybody else does!

Dear God, thank You for caring enough about me to number the hairs on my head. Slow me down today. Help me realize that it is often the little things that carry great weight in Your economy. The faith of a mustard seed, the lunch of a young boy, the courage of Gideon. Remind me that life truly happens in the hearing, the listening and the being of life much more than the hustle and busyness of life. Amen.
~ Mike

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