Friday, January 20, 2017

Small, Great Things

Today's reflection on the Daily Texts:

Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble with it. - Proverbs 15:16

Jesus said, "Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!" - Luke 12:24

Two-year reading texts: Psalm 14; 1 Chronicles 18; Acts 14:8-20

As I write this, it's the inauguration day of Donald Trump as President. I can't help but make the connection between humility and greatness. I wrote on a similar theme today under the title "Leggo the Ego" in a longer post speaking directly to our present political situation. Here, where my focus is on the daily Bible verses, I'll point to the power of God to work through ordinary little things.

Jesus loved to use simple parts of everyday life to illustrate the way God works. The reign of God is like a mustard seed ... like yeast ... like a pearl. In the passage today's New Testament verse comes from, Jesus looks at birds and flowers, how lively and beautiful they are, and how God cares for them, providing everything needed for this fullness of life. "How much more," Jesus says, will God care for us! Part of his point is to save us from the futility of worrying. Part is to rein us in from "striving" for anything but the reign of God. Mostly it's to reframe the way we look at our lives, so that we see and continue to rely on God for everything we need for our fullness of life.

The Proverbs verse, and others like it, make a similar point. Our joy and happiness is not dependent on the quantity of stuff we have in life, but on our relationship with God.

As I write this, it's been almost three weeks since I posted here. There was the Christmas rush, then vacation, then digging out from the things that happened during vacation, then a weekend youth event, then Sheryl went into the hospital with flu and pneumonia, then I got sick, then planning for a church leadership retreat, then a synod event. I've been grateful, during all of that, for even a few minutes most mornings for reading the daily scriptures and connecting with God in prayer. I've had so much going on - a lot of it good stuff! - that my habit of posting here has been squeezed out. Yet in all that time, those few minutes with God have helped keep me centered and connected. God is with me, providing for me, whether I'd call my day "good" or "bad," whatever is happening, whatever my feelings about the stuff in my life.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed with life - even our own individual life, let alone our worries about other people we know, and national and international affairs. But the small things God gives us to get us through each day make a great difference. I'm grateful to God for helping me to remember this, and to stay connected. And I pray that God will use me - and each of us - as a way to bring small signs of life and beauty and fullness and joy to someone else. Even the smallest thing can make a great difference.

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