I love Valentine’s Day. As a child, I loved the chocolate, red hearts, and cards. I would walk around throughout the year in pursuit of heart shaped rocks. Knowing my passion, my husband has purchased heart shaped boxes for me for special occasions during our many years of marriage.
I’m not sure why this Valentine’s Day felt different. God, on purpose, placed a desire in me to celebrate, discover, and worship the true meaning of love.
And I have been a constant example of how you can help those in need by working hard. You should remember the words of the Lord Jesus: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. Acts 20:35
To receive a blessing with open hands and gratitude is just as fulfilling
We are intimately linked in this harvest work…….Accepting someone’s help is as good as giving someone help. This is a large work I’ve called you into, but don’t be overwhelmed by it. It’s best to start small. Give a cool cup of water to someone who is thirsty, for instance. The smallest act of giving or receiving makes you a true apprentice. You won’t lose out on a thing. Matthew 10:40-42
The smallest act of giving or receiving.
I believe wholeheartedly that the seemingly smallest act towards kindness, belonging, and worth provides a priceless gift. Do you ever feel that you or what you do are never enough? More could be done, or should be done? You leave someone who is still hurting or angry. You wake up to the same issues in your personal life. You go to work and find that you wrestle with compassion fatigue or apathy? It’s too big. Yet, God is calling us to handle the big with the smallest act.
I visited a loved one on Valentine’s Day. It’s too big. My heart wants so much for her to be healed, walking around, and absent of pain. I pray for these things, but I have no control over them. Yet, the smallest act of a Valentine’s Day blanket, a heart stuffed pillow, yogurt, and water brings hope not only to her, but to me.
In my lent devotional on 2/13/16 this was shared: (please try to see the connection of the smallest act in something too big)
Written By Caitlin White
Communications, First Presbyterian Church
Trina Davis was born and raised in New Orleans and owned a hair salon there before the storm. She had always enjoyed arts and crafts in her spare time, so when she returned after the evacuation to find her old neighborhood in ruins, she found a creative way to respond to the brokenness of her hometown. With her son Max, she began collecting broken bits of glass, nails, wire, and keys from the debris, and together they transformed these pieces of trash into beautiful mosaic windows. Now her salon also serves as an art gallery, and their work serves as an inspiration to their neighbors.
When I consider the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, I am reminded of spirits like Trina’s who are able to see abundance and possibility when others are overcome by scarcity and fear. All that was needed for a miracle were little pieces, just a few loaves and fish. Jesus can take these blessed, broken pieces and transform them into something more than they are.
Sure, he could have probably created a huge feast before the disciples’ eyes, shocking everyone watching with his power and skill. Yet, for Jesus, the magic is in the sharing. He invited his followers to offer what limited means they had and take part in joyful giving and the fullness of God’s grace. Likewise, we are reminded at tables of fellowship with friends and family, at tables laid out in welcome for those in need, and, most of all, at the Communion table that the broken pieces of ourselves are sufficient, blessed, and necessary for the modern-day miracles of God.
You are sufficient, blessed, and necessary!
Do you feel that way? Even if your situation is “too big”, do you trust that God can take your broken pieces and use them? I think the hardest challenge is looking to God for our sufficiency. I do not want to sound irreverent. So, please, listen to my heart on this one…….
Think on that day when the fish and loaves were not enough, but in the scarcity, God provided. Do you think there was someone in the 5,000 who complained, or would have rather had meat instead of fish? It happens. Humans complain, covet, and sometimes curse a blessing, or small act. We humanly see the “too big” and nothing seems to satisfy. So, too, it is equally important to have open hands to receive the small with joy. We are a dissatisfied, insatiable people.
We struggle with “who” is responsible for our sufficiency. God uses His people to provide, but God is the ONLY source of lasting fulfillment.
If my small act is not accepted or deemed insufficient, I must know–truly trust–that God is my all sufficient source, and the same source to those I’m serving. I will not judge my worth by the acceptance of mankind. I will not judge my sufficiency by examining the scarcity in my life, or circumstances.
I will leave you with this prayer from the same Lent devotional I referenced above.
Prayer: Generous and infinite God, just as you brought the universe into existence, so you formed each of us as your unique and beloved children. You provide all things and all possibilities. Yet, we confess that we covet and complain, failing to appreciate your bountiful blessings. Teach us your mercy, justice and creativity. Open our minds to the limitlessness of your grace and goodness, and help us to share your abundance with those in need, through Jesus Christ our Lord who reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Our Valentine’s Day–