Sunday, May 17, 2009

Small things make a big difference

Small things

make a big difference


The disciples could not believe it.  Jesus knew differently.


There is a boy here who has five loaves of barley bread and two fish.  But they will certainly not be enough for all these people.


I love the ‘certainty’ in the minds of the disciples.


5000 hungry people.  That’s a big problem.


5 loaves of barley bread and two fish.  That’s a small amount of food.


Jesus took the bread, gave thanks to God, and distributed it to the  people who were sitting there.


He did the same with the fish, and they all had as much as they wanted.


Small things make a big difference.


As I had my fourth refusal in a row, I did begin to wonder.  Is it worth it?  And then as I watched the copper and silver coins sliding into another envelope, I thought to myself, what’s the point?


But that envelope is added to another envelope, that street to another street, this church’s collection, to another’s this town’s to another … and the total that is raised makes a world of difference to the One Respe project in the Dominican Republic.  No, not to the One Respe project but to the people served by it.


Small things make a big difference.


But people want

big things to happen


The amazement on the part of those disciples as Jesus gave thanks and distributed first the bread and then the fish to so many people, quickly faded.


It wasn’t big enough to satisfy their longings.


They were insistent … “What miracle will you perform so that we may see it and believe you?  What will you do?  Our ancestors ate manna in the desert, just as the scripture says, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.


They longed for something really big to happen.


Isn’t that our impatience as well.  We look to God to make a big difference – something dramatic in a world of need.   And the drama doesn’t happen.  It’s just the small things we see.  And a little bit of us wants something more.


It was the morning after I had done my collecting.  Roy Jenkins, one-time minister of the Baptist church I attended in Bangor did thought for the day.  It’s more than thirty years since he founded the smallest of organisations based in Wales called Christians against Torture.  He and Liz and the other members of that group have corresponded with the victims of torture and with governments the world over.  A tiny drop in the ocean.  And yet, letters from people who have been helped, policies that have changed, not least in Guantanmo.  Small things count.  And he quoted a lovely saying of the Dalai Lama.  ‘People who say little things don’t make a difference have never slept in bed with a mosquito!’


The disciples asked a question of Jesus.


What can we do in order to do what God wants us to do?


Maybe that’s the key.  What is important is for us to do what God wants us to do, regardless of the outcomes we can actually see.


So what is it that God wants us to do.


Jesus is clear.


What God wants you to do is to believe in the one he sent.


Our faith focuses on Jesus Christ.  It is his smallness, his vulnerableness, that draws us to him.


The Greatness of God's love

embodied in the small, vulnerable Jesus


And that involves taking him at his word.  Jesus is the one who embodies the very nature of God … and the very nature of God, John tells us, is love.  You see it in the teaching of Jesus, in the healing of Jesus, in the cross of Jesus, in the resurrection of Jesus.



If Jesus is the embodiment of God’s love, then we make up the body of Christ, we are the embodiment of Christ in all his love.


We are to make real in our lives and in what we do the reality of God that we find in Jesus.


Believe in Jesus

be the embodiment of God's love


We can be sure.


Small things

make a big difference


And the small things that make a difference are the small things of God.  As John puts it in 1 John 4.


God is love


This is what love is: it is not that we have loved God,


but that he loved us and sent his Son

to be the means by which our sins are forgiven.


Dear friends, if this is how God loved us, then we should love one another.


No one has ever seen God, but if we love one another, God lives in union with us,

and his love is made perfect in us.

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