He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Isaiah 40:29
When my oldest son was in the fourth grade, I volunteered to help him and his friends make a piñata for their class Halloween party. The boys had a great time slapping on the newspaper strips drenched in the gooey flour paste. Each little narrow strip of newspaper was carefully slopped on the outside of a Mylar balloon until the boys thought they’d covered every visible speck of silver balloon. After getting the boys and the table cleaned up, I picked up the piñata to set it in the sun to dry. As I reached down to grab it, I nearly threw out my shoulder the thing was so stinkin’ heavy! Holy cow…how could something made out of such tiny strips of weightless newspaper collect into a creation weighing as much as a toddler? The best laugh of all came the following week at the party when it practically took a sledge hammer to break the thing.
I had the pleasure of taking a class yesterday about using Scripture with students of all ages. It was an excellent class and the instructor was so dynamic, passionate and enjoyable. One of the underlying themes of the class was that using Scripture and helping kids LOVE IT involves lots of little things. It’s not about unveiling the complexities and all the history, it’s about the little ways God uses His word to reach us, draw us in and shower us with His gifts. As I was driving home, I drove past a lawn decorated to the hilt with Halloween decorations and I remembered that silly jack-o-lantern piñata the boys made about ten years ago. That 30 pound piñata took on a whole new meaning as I began to realize that our journey toward heaven is a little like that piñata. The creation of that big, strong piñata, began with something that was tiny, weightless and quite frankly, of no value but yet, it became so much more!
We can get pretty caught up sometimes in the big stuff of life, like money, careers, politics, mortgages, position and on and on. It’s all legitimate and needs our attention for sure, but our journey to heaven is supremely about the little stuff. Jesus worked some breath taking miracles, He did some unbelievable healings and He orchestrated some amazing conversions but His message to His followers always focused on the little things we were to do if we want to follow Him. He took more than 600 Jewish laws and condensed them into TWO commandments for us to follow…talk about simplifying things! He used parables or stories of the common, to teach and reach souls for His Father. He even pulled some children onto His lap to show us exactly who we needed to imitate. Jesus was all about the little things!
Our lives should be like that piñata…a combination of little things, done lovingly for Christ in order to make us strong enough to withstand the blows of disappointment, difficulty and discouragement tossed in our path by the evil one. During the class yesterday I was touched right to my core when the instructor was talking about the Parable of the Prodigal Son. What we need to understand about that story is simpler than greed and jealousy and betrayal. It’s not a story of good son vs bad son. It’s about a little choice with enormous consequence. I was dawn to tears when the instructor spoke in a voice so peaceful and loving and taught that the oldest son was saying to his father, I want your “stuff” not a relationship…he was in effect saying, father, you are dead to me. In a voice, quivering with the anguish of the true meaning of the parable, the instructor reminded us that the father in the story is indeed our God and Father and many times we act just like the son demanding God’s stuff; His love, mercy and grace without wanting to work at a relationship with Him. What God demands of us is simple and small compared to what He blesses us with but yet we sometimes let days slip by without carving out that chunk of time to sit in quiet uninterrupted prayer designed to forge our relationship with Him.
What little things can you begin with? Can we begin with or add a few minutes of Scripture each day? Maybe it could be a little time helping a neighbor? How about a little time praying for that crabby co-worker instead of complaining about them? If there are a hundred steps between me and God, I know that if I take the first little step toward Him, He will take the rest toward me.
A seed to plant: Tear 5 narrow strips of newspaper. For each of the strips, plan a little thing you can do to grow closer to God. After you complete those tasks, glue the strips of newspaper together. Consider how much stronger those strips of newspaper are when glued together than they were independently.
Blessings on your day!
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