I’ve always wanted to do big things—you know, travel to a foreign country and help needy people. Feed and clothe those who are hungry and lack adequate clothing. I want to change the world.
But I am just an ordinary person. I don’t have tons of money, I don’t own a non-profit, I’m retired and not as energetic as I used to be. I cook, I eat, I clean up the mess. I live an ordinary life.
I still long for the large gesture, but I’m learning that ordinary is okay. I’m learning that a small help can be enough, just like the boy throwing starfish back into the sea. I’m learning that most of us are ordinary, that most of us can do small things, and the accumulated small things can make a big difference in this world.
Jesus did some pretty big things. He healed people, He raised them from the dead, He stilled a furious storm, He walked on water, He died and came to life again. I’d call all of those world-changing.
In many ways, however, he was ordinary. He worked as a carpenter, He walked around the country, getting His feet dirty. Sometimes He had to settle disagreements among His disciples who argued over who would sit at His right side.
He ate like us, He talked with His friends, He slept, He cried in grief. Even when He was suffering and dying on the cross, He made sure John would take care of His mother. In many ways, He was ordinary, like us.
Today as I walked the nature trails near my house, (one of my ordinary activities) I had to stop and turn around. Even days after our recent heavy rains, the stream remained swollen so it ran over the cement bridge. Just a few days earlier, the stream had buried the bridge under water and ran at least a dozen feet out of its banks. It was impassable. My ordinary little stream had become strong and powerful.
When I thought about it, however, I realized the out-of-its-banks stream was simply filled with millions of tiny drops of water. Together, those drops had power. Individually, they seem insignificant. If we contribute a few drops, can’t we make a difference, together?
My fitness watch says it takes me 2,500 steps to walk a mile. A marathon is 26.2 miles, or 65,500 steps. I’m not too eager to walk a marathon in a day. But if I walk a few miles a day, I can still walk a marathon. It just takes a little longer. Our little steps can make a difference.
A few of the small ways I feel compelled to help others include donating money to groups that help the poor and those who suffer tragedies, babysitting at my church so the parents can attend their small groups, making hats for the homeless, and writing and sharing devotions and scripture that I hope and pray will encourage others.
My question/challenge for you is this: how can you contribute a few small drops for others? If we all help, we can create a raging river.
“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, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’” Matthew 25:37-40