I have spoken a few times to my friends, the congregation of Wheatland, and I oft repeat my favorite Bible verse. Now I used to love Philippians 4:13 “ I can do all this through Him who gives me strength”. But lacking in strength a good bit of the time, I found a new one that simplifies things for me. Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, o mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord ask of you? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. “ This is a pretty simple instruction. Something I strive to do, but it really isn’t all that easy. I spoke on this the last time I brought the message and added “go to church”. But what about the people that don’t go to church? As Pastor has often told us, we may be the only church or Bible someone might see. That is a heavy burden. So we need to strive to do good, obey God’s commandments.
There are many scriptures that tell you about doing good deeds.
Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
Hebrews 13:16 Do not neglect to do good and share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Ephesians 4:32 Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
So we know we are supposed to do good deeds. They don’t have to be giant, great deeds like going on a missionary trip, volunteering for a charity, or some grandiose thing. It can be the little things, little deeds. You know, it is the little things that can change your day.
I know I have seen someone in a store being rude to the clerk, and I think, what a jerk! The poor clerk, on the receiving end of someone’s anger, doesn’t deserve the harsh words or scowls. But that is a little thing, that can hurt. Now the clerk is unhappy and annoyed, and the customer is unhappy. Perhaps the customer had a really bad day. You know those days when everything goes wrong. You have a flat so you are late to your doctor’s appointment because AAA was on another call and took a while to get to you and change your tire. Then the doctor has found something unusual in your tests and wants to do more tests. And you get a call that your grand kid fell and sprained an ankle and they need a baby sitter because they can’t go to school. Or the Pastor calls and needs you do something at the church. And you just don’t have the time. And you are on that last little piece of patience. And then the smiling happy clerk makes a mistake in your order, and that did it. All that frustration just comes out and you let them have all your frustration in harsh angry words. Now you both are unhappy. One little thing can change your day. One little thing.
What about the older person who is struggling to pick up something they dropped, and you stopped and picked it up and handed it to them. They are grateful, because it is difficult for them to stoop over. You normally get a smile and a thank you. Some people would have walked by. But you took the 15 seconds to help. It’s the little things.
What is the cost to you in doing good deeds? You never can tell how people will react to you. Every time I am here at the church, which is almost every day, (tell me later if you get the gotcha that comes later) someone comes by looking for help. It is various stories, and I always have to say, I am sorry. We are a very small congregation and have no outreach programs at this time, nor have the money to assist. However, there are larger churches down Hampton that have programs and can possible help you. I wish you the best of luck and hope your condition improves. I feel awful not trying to assist these people, but I just can’t give the monetary help. I can give them an encouraging word and a smile. It is a little thing.
What is the cost to you in the little things? Arguing with a friend? Was it worth the argument? I have two friends that I am with quite a bit, together, and they just bicker back and forth, always fussing at each other. Then they end up grumpy at everyone and everyone around them ends up grumpy. And I end up grumpy with them! What if there was a non-Christian witnessing this exchange, what would they think these Christians are like, and why would they want to be like them? This little thing is a big cost.
Angry words can hurt. You can’t take words back. You can say you are sorry, and they say they understand, but they always remember the angry words. Small words, can hurt. IT is the little things. WE had a forged check on our church account back in April. Faye brought it to me, and I was shocked! She asked me did I know anything about this. I never signed a check to that person. So I took the copy of the check we got from the bank and asked Pastor if she wrote it, knowing well it was my signature on the check. Faye writes the checks and I sign them, looking at each check to see what is going on. Well she was very offended, of course, which I had not intended to offend, I worded my question to her incorrectly. It was a little thing, that hurt her, and I had no idea. WE did discuss it later and got things straightened out. I realized what I said wasn’t really what I meant. It was little mistake on my part that made a big misunderstanding. It’s the little things.
You can get your feelings hurt by the little things. A word. A scowl. A gesture. An idiot that cuts you off in traffic. I have a special word for them, but they can’t hear it. I am sure Pastor would say that isn’t acceptable, but we won’t tell her. A word is spoken. Did you take it wrong? Did someone say something in jest, and you took them seriously? I texted a friend and never heard back. I texted again. Never heard back. So by now I was really mad, they don’t care enough to text me back! They just don’t want to have anything to do with me. I was mad. Over a little thing. When I saw this friend, I asked, so you don’t return texts or emails anymore? And the reply was, What text? What email? At which time they showed me their phone and there was no text or email from me, even though my phone said sent. It’s the little things. We can jump to conclusions, without considering the source or the consequence.
I was just fussing at my sister Kat on Friday. Why can’t anyone else do this? I have a job. I don’t have time for this. No one will do anything, I am tired of this. I don’t get paid for this. I ranted and went on for minutes. A simple reply from a friend would have stopped me from my ravings, a simple, little question. Why didn’t you say no? Obviously, since it was my sister, that wouldn’t have stopped me, I would have go on to why I can’t say no, but it was my sister so I continued my rant. The little thing, that is a big thing, she listened to me, and help me finish up my chore that had to be dealt with. She didn’t have to, but she did. It’s the little things. That end up big things.
We are supposed to do good deeds. 1 John 3:17 But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? If we are not doing good deeds, how is God’s love abiding in us?
This is a hard scripture. I think of all the people that come to the church asking for assistance, and I turn them away. I have a warm home and bed, food to eat, clothes to wear, gas in my car, and brothers and sister to worship with. I know where my next meal is coming from, and that I won’t be cold, or hot at night when I lay down to sleep. So if I am not helping my brothers in need, is God’s love not abiding in me?
James 2:14-17 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “go in peace, be warmed and filled, without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
This scripture, and all the people that show up looking for assistance, and our lack of funds, has challenged me to do something. I want to get with the pastor, and the surrounding churches, to make a list of phone numbers and addresses of places that can assist these people asking for help. We may not be able to help them monetarily, but we can give them resources to help themselves, if they choose to do so. It is a little thing. But it can turn into a big thing.
How hard is it to smile at someone? I know you can do it. I will show you. I am going to take a picture up here of all of you with my phone, with everyone smiling, and send it to the pastor. A smile can make someone’s day. A phone call to ask how someone is, can make someone’s day. A card received in the mail, can make someone’s day. It is a little thing.
I was fuming over all I had to do, and a good friend I don’t hear from too often called and said, dang, you look good today. I replied, yes, I know, my old robe and fuzzy slippers are so sexy. We laughed and caught up on what was going on in our lives. I was not fuming or fussing anymore. I was smiling. It is the little things.
And here is another scripture to consider. James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
And another: James 2:24 You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.
But remember, it doesn’t have to be grand colossal things you do. It’s the little things. Matthew 6:1 Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.
There is a song that I love by the group Running on Faith, that performed here a couple of times way back when. I have their CD and one song is called Screen door on a submarine. Faith without works is like a song you can’t sing, it’s about as useless as a screen door on a submarine. How true is that?
Remember, you may be the only Bible, or Christian another person may come in contact with. An angry word, a scowl, what does that represent? A smile, a kind word, what does that represent? A word of encouragement, a list of resources for someone that can’t investigate resources. A criticism, a comment, a gesture.
Ann, your hair looks great today. Dot, I love you in pink. Warren, your playing in service adds so much. Thank you. Great job decorating fellowship hall Dorothy. It is so much easier to be nice than grouchy. So much more fulfilling to receive a smile than a scowl. How hard is it to return a cart to the correct place in the parking lot? Or to pick up trash and put in the proper receptacle? Or wash the tablecloths in fellowship hall after a shindig? Give a friend a ride to church? Question someone who is complaining or gossiping about do you really know what is going on with that person? Have you walked in their shoes, do you really know what is going on? Just stop a moment, and think, I like the old message, what would Jesus do? He did big things, and little things.
It’s the little things that can make a big difference. Be the Bible that others don’t read or see.