“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions.” (Henri Nouwen)
I was having one of those “meh” days. Heading out late one evening to buy bread to make what felt like my millionth marmite sandwich for boys’ lunches, I wondered if in the scheme of Heaven I’d made any impact, made a difference at all that day for someone. My eyes then alighted on a Church’s billboard with the words “what you do and how you live matters.” A timely reminder that we do makes a difference. And if I needed anymore of a reminder a friend then made me aware of a Facebook posting she had made two years ago that I wasn’t aware of.
“Yesterday we moved into our new house in Auckland. And today for the first time in my life, a neighbour has brought us cupcakes to welcome us to the neighbourhood. I thought that just happened in movies. Kiwis you rock!”
That was me! (Surprisingly given my inconsistent record when it comes to baking!) On that ordinary day two years ago, I had a thought to take some cupcakes round to our new neighbours to say hi and welcome! On that day it seems I made a difference even though I was unaware of the fact.
There are so many ways that we can extend the love of God to those around us. From a smile, to a helping hand, to an encouraging conversation we can bring light into the darkness around us. We need to remind ourselves to look at our lives through Heaven’s eyes. Heaven’s perspective is different to ours and often values what we write off. Even in the mundane, the little or the seemingly insignificant moments we can and do bring glory to God. We shine His light.
“You will shine…like stars in the sky.” (Philippians 2:15)
(PS: Image is not of the cupcakes I made! Sadly!)
“What will you do in the mundane days of faithfulness?” (Martin Luther)
Of the many signs of spring around at the moment there is none more prominent in my garden than my oak tree. As if overnight new leaves have sprouted and what seemed to be bare branches are now awash with fresh green leaves.
Given the size of the Oak Tree it is easy to focus on it. Its gracious branches the perfect resting place for the boys’ swings. But on a closer look the tree is not alone in its spring activity. For on the ground tiny little oak seedlings have grown from last season’s acorns that embedded themselves in the soil. Overlooked and barely noticeable due to their diminutive size, they have thus far survived the cull of the lawn mower.
These little plants have the ability, the potential to grow into an oak tree the size of the one that towers above them. A small oak seedling is not insignificant. It has value and potential. It is something to be treasured.
Our world demands big, it values and esteems grand. The bigger the better. If we are not careful we can let that thinking spill over into our life with God. We can think that our life is small and insignificant compared to those around us who seem to be doing more, making more of an impact for God on a grander scale, on a bigger platform. We can think that our days are merely mundane, ordinary and cause little impact for the Kingdom of God.
Those little Acorn seedlings have to hang in there if they want to reach their potential. In the same way we need to hang in there and keep doing good. It is in our ordinary days, when we do what is in front of us, that we honour God and live for Him. Keep being that voice of encouragement, keep with the acts of kindness. It matters because it matters to God. Our good works have impact beyond the moment – we just often don’t see that.
If you’re weary of pouring out, serving and helping for little or no appreciation. If you’re hurting because it seems that what you do is invisible, take heart for God sees. And God does not subscribe to the world system of value and success but rather sees all, values all. Remember He is always at work in and through us.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
A work day like any other – ordinary. The sound of fingers clacking on keyboards, printers going. The general hum of a busy office. That is until Hitesh calls from the lunchroom alerting us all to a budgie sheltering from the rain on our deck. And with that we all came to check out the little chap. Some sourced some food (that would be me!) and then someone else managed to encourage the bird inside. A makeshift perch was found from a decorative canoe, water provided. The heater even was turned on. In all a general fuss was made of the budgie.
Consequently within the hour a new sound was to be heard in the office. A chattering, singing bird. A happy bird. He’d found warmth, care. And by the end of the day a new home as well (one happy family got to welcome a new pet).
Everyday we start out with our plans and hopes for the day ahead. But as much as we have plans for our days, God does too. Opportunities for us to co-labour with Him in demonstrating His love, His kindness, in fact demonstrating Jesus, to those around us. It is the conversation with the shopkeeper, the taking a moment to really listen to that colleague. It is going out of our way to help someone in need, to show kindness to someone. And when we are open to these interruptions in our lives our ordinary days can end up extraordinary. We can impact our world in incredible ways.
Our budgie rescue injected a lot of joy, fun and camaraderie into our office that day. Perhaps it was God’s plan for a workplace to come together and rescue a little bird….?