A Drop in the Ocean (January 2016)

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As the New Year begins, it is traditional to take up a New Year’s resolution.  Attendance at a gym, or quitting smoking, or reading the Bible cover-to-cover, or not eating chocolate ever again.  Whatever it is, I wish you well with your resolve.  But if we are honest, we know that so often the New Year resolution has not lasted until the end of January.  I would like to suggest that instead of resolving to do something drastic, that we each resolve to do very small things, every day.

It is tempting to wonder if doing small things can really be worth it.  What difference can that little thing make?  What difference can one person make?  Surely it’s only a drop in the ocean, so it will not be noticeable.  I cannot do much about the big problems in the world, so why should my little actions make a difference?  But, the ocean is made up of lots of little tiny drops.  And what is more, God works through very small things.  I believe that in the same way that God’s weakness is stronger than human strength, and God’s power is shown in what to human eyes may appear to be foolish weakness (the cross), so God can somehow be more powerfully at work in small things done in faith than in huge, great big, grand gestures.

God is more likely to use the weak and the poor, and those who are down-trodden, those who are oppressed and persecuted, for his purposes.  God is less likely to use those who are rich and powerful and who have enormous influence over people.  Like Jesus, King of our lives, was born in a stable and not in a royal palace, so God is more likely to be present in the places which are a mess, than those which are sparklingly clean.

So if we hear a simple, trusting prayer of a young child, we can know that God is at work.  And God will be in the small things we can do each and every day.  Whether it is giving a smile to a stranger in the street.  Or in the prayer for a relative, that only God hears you say.  And God is in the helping hand offered to a neighbour in difficulty, or in the kind word to a stranger that nobody else hears you say.

Let us all do many small, often unnoticed things, in God’s name.  That way we will build his kingdom.  To his praise and eternal glory (which is extremely large, and extremely long-lasting).

Tina Upton