Tuesday, March 17, 2009

More Than You Know

The other day someone reminded me of something that I had done for them and how much it meant to them. To be honest, I had forgotten all about what I had done; it happened several years ago, and I'm sure that even then I thought it was a small gesture on my part. Obviously it meant a great deal more to them than I imagined, considering that they still remember it.

While it did cheer me to know that something I'd done had a surprisingly profound impact on that person, it also humbled me as I realized anew just how powerful my words and actions can be. Certainly God has gifted me with certain abilities and skills meant to be used for performing acts of love and encouragement in His name. But if I'm not careful, my words and actions can also be used for evil, to discourage, criticize, act selfishly, neglect, abuse.

So often I fail to recognize the influence that God has given me. I sometimes undervalue the little opportunities that He gives me to reach out to people, because I am so often looking for a grand gesture. But on God's scale, all gestures are small without Him and grand with Him.

Several times in the Gospels, Jesus emphasizes the importance of so-called "small" gestures:

I tell you the truth, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward. (Mark 9:41)

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?' The King will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.' (Matthew 25:35-40)

I shudder to think of how many opportunities I've missed to serve and bless others because I didn't think that what I could say or do would really matter. I'm grateful for those times when I DO speak up or perform an act of kindness, insignificant as it may seem to me at the time. Often when I'm faithful in these little things, God opens doors for greater service.

Let me encourage you to not discount the significance of your words and actions, no matter how unimportant they may appear to you. You never know the impact that you're having on those around you.

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