Small Steps and Godly Strides
“A gift opens the way and ushers the giver into the presence of the great.”- Proverbs 18:16
Over the last one hundred years our nation has had its share of memorable quotes:
President Kennedy invited Americans to, “Ask not what your country can do for you. But what you can do for your country.”
Martin Luther King Jr. passionately prophesied, “I have a dream!”
One of my childhood hero’s, Rocky Balboa bellowed, “Yo, Adrian!”
There are scores of others that come to mind and be recited verbatim by the masses, but one rises (figuratively and literally) above the rest. The one on my mind took place on a famous summer day in 1969, when Neil Armstrong stepped out of Apollo 3 and communicated high above the hemisphere, “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” We all know this to be the historic moment of the first landing and man walking on the moon. Perhaps, even as you read these words and recount that moment, you can visualize the original moonwalk. These words from the moon have become monumental for me over the last month.
Over the last few weeks, I have discovered that even the smallest gesture can make a great impression and allow for the grand entrance of a “God Moment”. As Joanie and I have shared over the last few Sundays, the Lord took a simple gift we gave and used it in a glorious way. In the last two weeks we are planting more kingdom seeds than the entire three years our oldest son has participated in the high school basketball program. It began with a desire to bless and affirm each player with a personalized note and a Starbucks gift card. Not only have we received multiple thanks from players and parents, but we have been able to share about God, our faith, our lives, and our church. It has even opened the door for using our church property to host the season-ending banquet for the entire boy’s basketball program next month!
The reality is that those young men didn’t need a $5 gift card, but when you combine it with a note that encourages and affirms, the value cannot be measured. No matter how simple you feel your act of kindness is, it carries a great weight and makes a profound impact. A smile, a note, a compliment, an email, a “shout out”, and a thank you can make room for more. The question is, what is the more we hope to have happen? As you consider ways to extend acts of kindness, let be sure it accomplishes at least these three things:
1) That the individual would feel valued.
“Speak only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”- Ephesians 4:29
The gift is not meant to confirm that we are a “good person”, but to affirm something in the recipient. It is not about them coming to church but…
2) For them to experience God’s love.
“In the same way, let your light so shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”- Matthew 5:16
That your small gesture would reveal the great big heart of God towards all people. That just as Jesus came as the exact representation of God’s image (Hebrews 1:3), that we reflect Him so brightly and brilliantly, that others would see Him, know Him, and fall in love with Him!
3) That there may be a friendship kindled.
“One who has unreliable friends soon come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”- Proverbs 18:24
It is much easier to make a one-time contribution, than to make an ongoing commitment to someone else. One of the lessons I have learned in this time is to be consistent in being available and in being kind. May your reaching out lead to regular opportunities to build relationship, be present, and bring people along in their own faith journey.
If you get started, you will be amazed how far God can take your first steps and simple gifts!