Thursday, October 9, 2008

The Greatness of Small Things

So often we think about our actions and interactions in grand scale, the things we buy, the places we go and the actions we take. In part this is because many of us can make hundreds of choices every day and not really think about the immense freedom associated with our decisions. For a fair number of us, we also do not have to engage in serious contemplation about the cost of things or what it will take to acquire them. As our economy has undergone mounumental shift, it seems that our thinking may be reoriented. What if most of us needed to be a lot more intentional and a lot less cavalier? What if both our money and our mobility affected how we acted regarding ourselves and each other?
This week I thought about that even more, as I was a part of my friend's memorial service. Her health care costs and lack of mobility played an overwhelming role in limiting her, or so one would think.
Yet person after person spoke of her lovingly as a caring, insightful and connected person who regularly, as recently as three weeks ago was ministering to all. And doing so in the most touching ways. A phone call to leave a message- thinking of you. A homemade card collage of words and pictures from magazines that spoke to her of a particular person or their circumstance, painstakingly cut out, and fashioned. A cup of tea in the kitchen or on the porch when you stopped by. When people asked what she needed, she asked for new kinds of tea to try with friends. I gave tea, but what I got in return far exceeded the value of the tea. If one was away too long, a tea bag in the mail, with a note to sit and have a cup and call, or just relax.
A quiet ministry of little moments. Moments far more priceless than all the "great things" our culture convinces us we must possess.
My friend at one time had a great many things that she lost, but like Paul in his letter to the Philippians, what she gained was far greater. A faith deeper than almost any I have known, and a true sense of presence in Christ in a self-emptying few of us would seek.
As I sat in a packed sanctuary, I saw the intertwining of all of those little things, almost unnoticeable things many of us fail to even contemplate in our pursuit of great things. And it seems to me that my friend gained the greatest gift, a life in Christ, which she imparted to each of us, even when we didn't see it.

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