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Still Learning

By Mike Mccauley on
Mike Mccauley
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Mar 24 in Musings
The sermon text from last week is still rolling around inside of me.  If you missed it,
we looked at the two short parables in Mark 4:26-32. It was all about small things, tiny things which may seem insignificant but end up being big Kingdom of God events. Both parables involved seeds which were planted in the ground. In one case, the seeds were found to be growing all by themselves, even when nothing was visibly happening on the outside. In the other story, a seed so small as to be nearly invisible grew into a very large bush or small tree.
So I’ve found myself thinking this week about small things which might be Kingdom events. Don’t get me wrong- we need to be thinking big as well. The huge problems of the world- hunger, warfare, refugees, homelessness, immigration, economics- are worthy of prayerful thought and action from followers of Jesus.

But I continue to learn about the impact of small things. I’ve had many teachers in this regard. One is my wife, Anne. Over the years of our marriage, I have watched her quietly and consistently affirm people by sending cards in the mail. All kinds of cards- celebrating events, encouraging people, letting them know they are prayed for, thanking individuals for time together. They are small, sometimes even postcards. Naturally, since Anne is an artist and she makes them by hand, they carry more visual zing than a card from me! But the beauty is simply the time and thought that lead to action. There is no need for the recipient to answer or reciprocate. It’s a very small unexpected affirmation of friendship or faith or prayer. Over and over I hear people reference these small cards, or sometimes see them displayed on fridges or walls when we visit. She’s done it for years.

In a similar way, I have a good friend who has taught me a great deal about the impact of staying in touch consistently. He is so good at sending a two-sentence text wondering about my day, or sneaking in a three-minute phone call before stepping on a plane. We would love to have more leisurely time in person than we do, but schedules and geography often prohibit that. But in lieu of large blocks of time, a text message which says “How did Sunday go?” or a quick phone call starting with “You were on my mind- you doing okay?” goes a long way. Especially if there is one today, and one next week, and another two weeks later. Sometimes the accumulation of small things becomes a big thing. Friendships can be nurtured even when no one contact seems overly significant.

I often wonder if this is how the disciples learned the most from Jesus. They heard him teach and watched him in ministry over a three-year period of time. Sometimes things were big and exhilarating. But some of those interactions must have seemed small and inconsequential. Yet when each small thing was added to previous ones, over time they grew and became significant. Big. Gospel.
See you soon,
     Pastor Dan      

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