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Loving small in big times

You could tell he had been sent on a quest and was about to return home a hero.

The trucker cap tipped a bit too high revealed the beaming face of the hunter bringing home the prized game. In his arms, he awkwardly lugged four large packages of Angel Soft toilet paper and was emerging from the Wal Mart aisle against the current of others rushing for whatever scraps were left.

Like many others wondering why they were rushing to buy toilet paper en masse while rushing to buy toilet paper en masse, I was in the frantic crowd – hoping to find that there was perhaps a package to take home to my family – at least a square to spare.

Eyeing us, the hunter ballooned in the esteem of his own mind. He was a “have” in a pandemic world of “have nots.”

Then something happened.

He stopped.

Initially, I thought he was going to go back for more. He was big. He had a beard and a trucker hat (still tipped a bit too high). He could easily lumber back for a few more packages—the king of the mountain stacking a few more rocks.

“Why come home a hero when you can come home a king?” He may have been thinking.

As I quickened my brisk pace, I heard him take a deep breath and begin to sigh. Enveloped in his sigh were quiet words spoken to himself in his head – yet audible as if by accident.

“I don’t need all this,” he said. “Someone else could use it.”

With that, he leveled his trucker hat, turned to join the scrambling current, and after taking several large steps toward the dwindling supply, placed three of the four packages back on the shelf.

It was a small act, and one most of us do daily—not gorging ourselves on excess toilet paper. Yet in times of panic or crisis, like the one we currently find ourselves in, small decisions can make a big impact.

Jesus tells us to love our neighbor as ourselves. As Christians, we often think that involves big and bold—like organizing homeless shelters, flying to Batswana on deadly Gospel mission or taking our cross to be burned at the stake as a martyr.

However, the examples Jesus uses of what reveals is truly in our hearts are not loud impressive moments, but quiet movements we might think are even imperceptible.

Small acts are big to God.

In such a time as this, Christians have a tremendous opportunity to share the love of Christ. As our world recognizes how little of it we actually control, we may feel overwhelmed. Yet it’s exactly in the few things that we can control that we have the opportunity to show the love of Christ who controls all things.

Remembering we are all this together helps us recognize that we need each other. Losing control makes us cling to the one who has all control. These are truths we all too often forget when things are easy.

Big times often call for small measures. Give what you can. Do what you can. Don’t take what you don’t have to. Even if you can’t go the extra mile, go a few steps.

Never underestimate the impact of the small. Loving our neighbor boldly usually begins with meekness. It is remarkably unremarkable. But that is exactly where Jesus said our hearts are revealed.

Love small. Pray big. These are troubled times, and in such times, we have great opportunities to share the gospel and cling to Christ. When you want to make an impact, don’t be overwhelmed by what you can’t do, but be aware of what you can—and do it.

No matter how small.

Author: Ryan Smith

Ryan is associate pastor at Eagle Heights Baptist Church in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He is the author of Not That God.

View more articles by Ryan Smith.

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Like so many other organizations around the state and country, Oklahoma Baptists are closely monitoring news and information about the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus).Learn More Here.
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