Last week I listened to one of the church youth invite other students to join him for a time of silent reflection and Bible reading during their lunches. It was not his willingness to put himself “out there” that amazed me, it was his understanding that even if no one else joined him he was still making a statement about who he was and more importantly whose he was.
He reminded me of something that happened about five years ago when our then thirteen year old son and I were having lunch at a buffet style restaurant. He was moving faster than I was and had returned to the table ahead of me. I turned toward the table in time to see him bow his head and pray silently. Our table was surrounded by many loud conversations. From a distance, I began to notice those conversations dropping off and slowly the heads of others began to bow in prayer. By the time I reached the table, everyone around us had stopped eating and was apparently giving thanks. I don‘t believe my son even noticed the effect he had on those around him.
I‘m not sure that it is possible not to feel overwhelmed with all the things that need to be done, all the problems that need to be address and all the needs that must be met. Often times the magnitude of the needs in our lives and the lives of those around us can leave us feel helpless to make a difference. We want to do something, we want to make a difference and we want to help. But…we‘re just one small, simple person, wondering what difference we could possible make.
Jesus said, “if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed…Nothing would be impossible. (Matthew 17:20).” The beautiful thing about a planted seed is that the only purpose it pursues is to grow. Jesus reminds us that we should focus on being faithful in the small ways. A cup of water never exists without each drop, and the world will only be transformed when each of us finds a way to do our small part.
Our son was not trying to transform a restaurant. He was simply trying to be faithful in the small ways. And the youth who agreed to covenant in prayer was simply trying to be true to what they felt Christ was calling them to be. For our son, it was his attention to the spiritual details of his life that allowed God to do bigger things. For our youth it will be the same as the greatest gifts and advances throughout history have always had their start in small ways. Most times, little things are of greater value than big things.