Loving retired husband feeding his ill wife with soup
I find myself praying often these days that God will raise up a new generation of Christians (clergy and laity), who take to heart Jesus' exhortation for us to be "faithful in little things" (Luke 16:10).
We are suffocating under banners of "bigness," where notions of size, greatness, and significance are defined by our egos more than by the Gospel. We are adept at turning such things into slogans, mission statements, and educational programs that extol "doing big things for God." We hand leaders capes instead of towels.
Henri Nouwen repeatedly warned us to shun the temptations to be powerful, spectacular, and relevant--and instead to be those who live quietly and humbly as salt, light, and leaven in the world.
I am so proud of many of my former students (and others whom I know) who daily serve Christ in "hidden" ways (Colossians 3:3), in ways that are enlivened by simplicity and ordinariness. It is this kind of holiness which enacts the counsel of Jean Pierre de Caussade: "do the next thing you have to do and do it for God"--and incarnates the truth given us by Brother Lawrence when he said, "We can do little things for God."
Jesus crossed paths one day with some religious leaders who were intent on "doing big things for God"--which in their case meant things that got them noticed, things that attracted the attention and admiration of people, things which made them appear important--creating the impression that they were "really doing God's work." Yet, he told them that their penchant for bigness was actually a neglect of more important aspects of the law: justice, peace, and faith (Matthew 23:23, CEB).
We are those who do our best work for God in supermarket checkout lines, in schoolrooms and courtrooms, in break rooms, in kitchens and around dining tables, in over-the-fence interactions with friends and neighbors, over the telephone and in social media comments, in sharing love with those whose only means of repayment is a smile, etc. etc.
We can do little things for God. All of us can.. Oh, yes!
The Rev. Dr. J. Stephen Harper is a retired seminary professor, spiritual director and author of several books. This post is reprinted with permission from his Facebook page.