The Impact of a Simple Gift

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin.” Zechariah 4:10

This time of year comes with pressure to do, and to be, all of the things.

In motherhood, someone else seems to always be doing something better. I am most definitely not the fun or crafty mom. I’m of the variety that prefers sitting. I’m great at snuggles, reading, and giving my children time to play on their own. I’m learning to embrace my unique strengths.

In writing, I know what steps I should take to reach more people. I see how networking, social media consistency, creating free offerings, and posting content more frequently could all help spread my work. There are pieces of this that I want to do and will be doing, but doing it all would be a full-time job, and my full-time job is homeschool mom. I’m coming to a place of peace about this.

As a pastor’s wife, I see all the ways I could do more. I absolutely love this role, and I want to do things like: contribute by planning events, leading small groups, coaching leaders, connecting personally throughout the week, and supporting those in crisis moments. Realistically, I can’t do all of that by myself. Instead, I’m working toward focusing on my God-given giftings, and heading my energy in that direction. I’m accepting my limitations.

Our culture is consumed with filling schedules and being successful. But what is success?

With Christmas approaching, I find myself dwelling on how Jesus approached his life’s work, on his version of success.

He had thirty-something years to save the world. He could have used this time to fill his schedule to the brim, taking advantage of every opportunity and moment. He could have met with kings and government officials to enforce strict policy changes. He could have gone on a world-wide campaign, showing off his glory and performing miracles in front of stadiums of people. He could have sought fame so more people would know about him.

But he didn’t.

He came as a baby. He waited to begin his ministry until he was 30 years old. Instead of investing in kings, he invested in the people around Him. Instead of riches and glory and fame, he chose simple and intimate.

Jesus didn’t come to meet our expectations of what the Messiah would be, He came to care for people. One on one. Personally. Individually. Slowly. He intentionally invested in the lives of twelve men. Just twelve. Sure, he loved people outside this group—he came because he loves us all—but it was his simple process over two thousand years ago that is continuing to make a difference for all of eternity.

He chose slow over quick. Small instead of big. Lowly rather than magnificent. And yet, he was and is, the greatest of all.

I believe every person wants to lead a life of significance in some way, shape, or form. We are taught to believe that our significance is defined by the scope of our influence, the names we know, the number of people following us online.

But our most considerable impact comes from being present with the people in our small circle, by genuinely loving and serving them. Being present with people means making eye contact and putting away our phones. It’s the courage to ask deeper questions and the vulnerability of sharing our dreams and weaknesses. Sometimes it looks like sitting in silence. It could be a small word of encouragement or working together to accomplish a big goal. Being present means stepping into the hard things with a friend who is hurting.

Having influence doesn’t require a stage or a platform. It requires humility and obedience to God’s word—stage and platform optional.

We are the hands and feet of Jesus. Our impact is greatest when we walk in his ways, when we work to make his name great, and when we live his message that has so transformed our hearts and lives.

If you are feeling pressure to do all the things and to be all the things, remember this: Jesus lived simply. His requirements are small. Be present with those in your small circle, and love them as Jesus would love them.

When we are faithful with these seemingly insignificant moments, God is able to multiply them in ways we could never imagine.

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