“I wanna help” I begged. A determined pint-sized toe-head blonde, I was just three years old at the time. Still I desperately wanted to help my mom get ready for company.
“Can you put the napkins in on the table,” she asked handing me the small stack as she pointed to the other room.
Snatching the napkins, I zoomed into the other room and back. I wanted to help, really help – more than just putting napkins or silverware on the table. Certainly there must be a bigger job for me.
My mom found a few small ways I could help but I just wasn’t satisfied. The things she gave me didn’t seem like enough to me, so as she lifted a tray of dishes, I scurried under the tray reached up to help.
In an instant, it came crashing down, dishes shattering into shards. I fell amongst the broken pieces, gashing my leg.
My next memory is the clearest first memory I can call my own – one nurse calling to another nurse to assist while I got stiches.
When I look back upon that fateful day, I realize I didn’t have the best perspective on “small.” I thought the little tasks my mom gave me were too small to make a difference. Now I realize how easy it is to feel like that in our faith journey. We see giants of the faith take center stage in an arena, or hear about them releasing their 10th best seller, or we see the worship leader or the pastor each Sunday with very visible callings upon their lives. Then when we look at our own lives, it’s easy to feel like we’re relegated to the “small.” We want more. We want bigger. We want clarity to our purpose and our impact.
All those years ago, my mom knew what I could handle as a toddler. Today, God knows not only what we can handle, but He also knows His full plan, His perfect plan, and how our small and big efforts together weave that very plan.
If you’re tempted to get discouraged by the “small assignments” here are a few points to help you keep perspective:
Small does not equal unimportant – I’m not going out on a limb when I say I think each of my mom’s guests that day would have appreciated their silverware. Had they sat down to a table without it, they would have noticed its absence.
Small has a purpose – In the Bible, to the crowd of over 5,000, the young boy’s lunch seemed small when they were hungry. Our “small” resources and efforts are the very raw materials God uses to show up in a mighty way. In the hands of God, small is multiplied. Do and give what God calls you to do and give and allow Him to show up and multiply.
Small once doesn’t mean always small – David wasn’t called to go defeat Goliath (1 Sam 17:17-20). He was called to go check on his brothers and take them supplies. In the midst of a war, what he was asked to do seemed quite small. Yet, through his faithfulness to the small things he was asked to do, he was positioned to defeat the giant. What great things might be waiting for you when you take the small steps that lead to the big victories?
If you struggle with feeling like your path isn’t significant, rest assured, even the smallest task He gives us is important. He multiplies our efforts, our resources, and our impact. And, the next time you sit down to eat and see your silverware and napkin, be reminded that God calls us to be faithful in the little things and He meets us right where we are.