“Do small things with great love.” -Mother Teresa
My husband has been on this documentary kick for a while. Most of the time when he is the one with the remote, I just automatically leave the room. Not that it isn’t important to find the truth of 9/11 or to know how to make fishing rods out in the Amazon or to learn how to survive in the most remote parts of Alaska or to be inform of what chemicals are going into my body and how juicing can save my life…but the truth is, I was already overloaded with information before he hit the Netflix button. .
So when he asked for the remote last night, I got up and went about my business of preparing for bed. Only I needed to be in the kitchen for a short time so I couldn’t help overhearing the TV and the topic of the film immediately caught my attention. Four college guys took a trip to a poverty stricken area of Guatemala. The purpose of the trip was to experience life like the majority of people around the world…people living on around one dollar per day. They spent 56 days in Guatemala in the midst of a poor village. I won’t go into the entire documentary, but suffice it to say, the realness of it was heartbreaking. (You can find it on Netflix “Living on One Dollar”) Just simple things that we take for granted like clean water, doctor’s visits and medicine, and 2000 calories a day were impossible for the majority of people in this community to secure. Many parents could not afford to send their children to school.
After the 56 days were over, they were trying to sum up the needs and come to a conclusion about what could be done to meet them. They were almost stumped as they talked through it, but finally decided that the greatest impact to end or at least “rein in” poverty around the world would come from a whole bunch of small things. There is no quick fix… there is no one thing that would end it…there is no one way to fight it, but in fact, the greatest impacts are the small things that come from people who are filled with great love for the people they are trying to help.
This wasn’t a documentary done by a Christian organization, but their conclusions…after spending 56 days experiencing as close as possible to what these people face on a daily basis…hit me hard.
The enemy fights the small things. He overwhelms us with the problem and urges us to view ourselves as far too small in light of it. He cuts dreamers down to size with his whispers “How in the world can you change something this big…this impossible…this prevalent?” He keeps throwing water of doubt on any fire for action that might stir in our souls. “Really? You think that you are going to even be a drop in the bucket of what is required to solve that problem?”
And often, we fall for it. We begin to comfort ourselves and assuage the prick in our hearts with the lie “I couldn’t do anything about this anyway. I might as well just live as comfortably as possible…enjoy my family for as long as we are here on this earth…and leave those other things to the people that can actually make a difference.”
Only “those people” are YOU and ME. You and me (led by the Holy Spirit, of course) doing small things with great love is the only way that this world has ever been changed. Even some of the biggest impacters in history can be traced back to a small change someone made in their life, a small prayer someone prayed, a small gift someone gave… the decision and action of a normal person, like you and me, who refused to believe the lie that they can’t use the resources they have been given to make a difference.
You know why we so easily talk ourselves out of small things? Because pride. We feel that if we can’t do something big…something that can be seen…something that will save a bunch of people…something that goes down in history…something that will result in “visible to us” change…then why should we do anything at all?
We don’t want to be a speck on the scale of what God is doing or just a piece of the puzzle… we want to be THE savior.
Maybe not even for selfish reasons…maybe just because we would do it so differently than God. We would snap our fingers and end child abuse. We would speak the word and make sex trafficking a memory. We would snatch up ALL those orphans and bring them right into our kingdom. We would point our finger and tell poverty to walk itself right out of this world and never come back. We want to make all of it better…right now. A small piece will not do.
So when God asks us just to love a neighborhood kid down the street… or to tell the truth at work… or to give $20 that we really don’t have to the missions fund… we easily talk ourselves out of it with “What good is it gonna do any way?”
But my friends, this is the only way the world has ever changed (a feat that ONLY GOD is responsible for). One child at a time. One truth at a time. One dollar at a time. Each of us willing to obey the voice of the Lord in the small things. Each of us trusting the Lord to build His Kingdom with our small things. Each of us believing beyond a shadow of a doubt that our God is good…He is the capable One…and His ears are open to the cry of the distressed and needy. Each of us sure that He can take our widow’s mite and turn it into cattle on a thousand hills.
Run and tell that to the devil when he whispers.
If you asked the people who know me to tell you about the greatest thing I have ever done, they would likely tell you about my three adoptions…three less orphans. But this isn’t the greatest thing I have ever done. That came years earlier when I was ready to give up on life itself…when I would lay on my face before God and beg to die…when every fiber within my being wanted to shut the world out and hide until He answered that prayer, but instead He helped me choose to take His Hand and keep walking. I can trace every impact that my life is making in the Kingdom back to those small steps forward, scared to death of the unknown, but trusting Him just enough to keep walking.
Such a small thing, but placed in His Hands, no doubt making a great impact.
“I, the Lord, have called you for a righteous purpose and I will hold you by your hand. I will keep you, and I make you a covenant for the people and a light to the nations in order to open blind eyes and bring out prisoners from the dungeon, and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.” Isaiah 42:6-7
Don’t you dare let the enemy convince you again that God can’t use your small things.