“For who has despised the day of small things?” — Zechariah 4:10.
As Christians, we are “burdened with glorious purpose,” as Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
As we earnestly seek to find and do our specific good works, we may hesitate, waiting for some great and mighty work that will dramatically revolutionize many lives. Or we may be paralyzed with fear, afraid to do anything since we might do something wrong. Unfortunately, in either case we may overlook many smaller, but equally eternally valuable opportunities to help someone.
Just as “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” God usually begins his great works in and through an individual with small things. Mathew 10:42 says that even such a small act as giving someone a cold cup of water will be rewarded. Matthew 25:34-40 mentions rewards for visiting people in prison, and providing food, shelter and clothing to those in need. Every kind word, encouragement and small act of kindness can make a huge difference in someone’s life, whether it be now, or even years later.
Love in The Name of Christ (Love INC) is made up of Christians from 23 local churches working together to address the many small opportunities to meet our neighbor’s practical needs and make a positive spiritual impact in their lives, and in our community.
Clients may call us with incredibly difficult and painful life situations which often include one or more of the following: the loss of a loved one, cancer or other major health concerns, substance abuse, broken or toxic relationships, homelessness, incarceration, family dysfunction, financial chaos, childhood trauma, absent parents, unemployment or underemployment, or generational poverty.
Others, usually the working poor, find themselves suddenly in need after the unexpected loss of a job, or an illness; many live only a paycheck away from needing help. We listen to their stories, pray for them, and try our best to respond holistically, in love.
In the same way a butterfly needs the struggle to get out of the cocoon in order to have wings strong enough to fly, we require verifications, accountability and respect from our clients, in hopes of strengthening them.
Love INC does provide resources such as food, furniture, linens, clothing, kitchen supplies, baby supplies, educational classes, and cleaning supplies, and/or assists clients in connecting with other available resources in our community.
We offer to pray for or with each client, and most gladly do so. If they are interested in connecting with a church, getting a free Bible or discussing spiritual issues, we are glad to oblige; if not, that is OK too, because any real step toward God must be voluntary.
We know we can’t revolutionize a person’s life simply by giving them a couch, a bed, a box of food, a set of dishes, or teaching them about managing their money, but we can care about each person, and come alongside them as encouraging friends. We can help them improve their situations, usually in small ways; but most importantly, we seek to live up to our name and show them love in the name of Christ.
We have seen some amazing transformations and many small steps in a positive direction. Other times we get surprisingly wonderful blessings from a seemingly routine event: a lady comes in to donate a mattress and some kitchen items. When asked how she heard about Love INC, she says she was a client we helped years ago and now has come to give back.
To those who are doing small things and wondering if you are making a difference, in I Corinthians 15:58 Paul tells us “… Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
If you are waiting for that one big ministry event, please don’t miss the opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life today by doing small things. Volunteering for Love INC is one option.
• Guy Crockroft is Executive Director of Love INC, Juneau. “Living Growing” is a weekly column written by different authors and submitted by local clergy and spiritual leaders.