My muse is on vacation this week – and I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t want to be around me this week either. I’m grumpy and stinky and sticky, and I really need to take a shower. So until she comes back to inspire me, I’m going to claim a cop-out and pass along a really good book chapter that Julie Sifford shared with me last year. It’s from Diapers, Pacifiers, and Other Holy Things by Lorraine M. Pintus. (I had to edit it down a little bit for the sake of space.) Enjoy! I’m off to take a shower…
Big Things, Little Things
For mothers, one of the most inspiring verses in the Bible is, “If you faithfully wipe your child’s runny nose, I will give you a mansion.”
Okay, I admit that’s a pretty loose translation of Luke 19:17. The verse actually says, “Because you have been trustworthy in a very small matter, take charge of ten cities.” Still, the nose-wiping thing works for me. Either way, the message is still the same: We must be faithful in little things if we expect to be responsible for big things…
Little things matter to God. And I don’t know anyone entrusted with more little things than a mother. You know the things I mean. That little everyday stuff that can drive you crazy.
Wash the clothes, dress the kids, mop the floor.
Make the beds, feed the pets, go to the store.
Read a story, write a letter, kiss a sore.
When you’re done, do it again.
And do it again once more.
Look around, so much to do.
The house looks like an unkept zoo.
You sigh a bit, ‘cause you’ll never be through
With “little things” that cry out to you.
Do you ever throw your hands in the air and cry, “I’m not doing this anymore! Nothing ever stays done. What’s the point?”
There is a point. Actually, two. The first point we’ve already discussed: God entrusts you with little things to teach you faithfulness in big things. The second point is this: God wants you to see that each little thing you do can have an eternal impact.
In Matthew 25, Jesus offers some people a kingdom in heaven because they did little things. “Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me” (Matt. 25:34-36).
The heaven-bound bunch were tongue-tied. They couldn’t remember doing these things for Jesus. Jesus said, “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40). Reading that verse cause my toilet scrubbing, nose-wiping duties to take on a high and holy purpose.
Jesus, I prayed, Do I understand you correctly? Are You saying that when I wash Amanda’s hair or sew a button on my husband’s jacket, it counts as doing it for You?
Yes, He replied. When you do these things in my name for those who love Me, you do it for Me.
What if I serve turkey to the homeless at Thanksgiving?
Why are you doing it?
Honestly? Because my friends do it. If I’m not there, I’m afraid I’d seem uncaring.
It doesn’t count.
You desire praise from people rather than from God. You do this for your glory, not for Mine.
How about the lasagna for Kathy? Does that count?
Why did you make it?
She was sick and couldn’t cook for her family. I appreciated the meal Tammy brought me when I had the flu. I wanted to return the favor. Besides, aren’t You always telling us to care for one another?
Really? You mean lasagna has some spiritual connection?
Not the lasagna. The motive. I tell you the truth, anyone who gives a cup of water in My name certainly won’t lose his or her reward.
Reward? You mean there’s a reward for doing these things? That’s nice, Jesus. But I don’t need a reward. I do these things because I love You.
Ahh! You are beginning to understand the importance of motive. Now, why do I speak to you about the importance of little things?
I think it is because You want me to see that every thing I do, no matter how small, can have eternal impact. A word of encouragement to the postal clerk is encouragement to You. A wave to a stranger is a wave to You. A cup of water for Amanda is a drink for You, that is, if my motive is right.
You have spoken well. Now, go. Follow My example. Do what I showed you to do.
What did Jesus do? The same things you and I do. He washed feet (John 13:5). He settled arguments (Mark 9:34-35). He served a meal to others (John 6:11). In a way, He even cleaned house (John 2:15-16).
Since the Creator of the universe humbled Himself to wash filthy feet, I can certainly wipe my daughter’s dirty face. If Christ served bread to others, I can serve meatloaf to my family. If the Son of God willingly performed menial work rather than appointing someone else to do it, how can I complain about disinfecting the diaper pail?
Little things matter. If your motive is right, even nose-wiping can result in eternal rewards. And that, dear friends, is nothing to sneeze at!
Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.