When you think of small things that make a big difference in your life many things might come to mind.
When I was asked this question, my first thought that came to my mind about small things was… a zit! I thought back to a time when I was 16 years old and it was the day of the Junior/Senior Prom and a very cute guy had asked me. I woke up that morning and when I looked in the mirror there was Mt. Saint Helen’s on my chin! Oh my gosh, what was I going to do? The whole day that little skin blemish bothered me and I just knew it was going to ruin my date that night. That night at the end of the evening, which I don’t think he even noticed the little pimple of my chin, instead my date told me, “I was as cute as a button!” This was even after he picked me up from some pretty humble living conditions. At that time we actually lived in a small old wooden grainery in the middle of a field. My dad had recently purchased a lot of farming ground and we didn’t have a house yet, so hence we lived in the old wooden grainery until we could get a place to live. A few days before the prom, the wind had blown the door off of our “house” so my dad had to just set it aside to let my date in after he tried to knock.
It was from those moments that I learned from my mom that big things are not important; it was the little things in life that made a difference. It was my parents taking the time from a very busy day to sit down and talk to my date and getting to know him. It was them taking an interest in whom I was going with rather than worrying about our living conditions at the time. They invited him in to sit at the table while the got to know a little more about the wonderful young man that was taking their oldest daughter to her first prom. Later my mom and dad became quite wealthy from some good business decisions and built a beautiful new home but only lived in it for a year when they were asked to go to live in another small humble shack in the mountains of Mexico. They had been asked to go on a work mission for your Church to help build a community for several poor Mexican families. So, they put their home up for sale and left. They did this for close to seven years. To my mom and dad, it was the small things they would do that would leave a legacy forever.
When the young man that took me to the Prom had asked to marry me, we went shopping for my wedding ring. He had $700 in the bank, which back in 1967 was a pretty good amount to spend on a wedding ring. As we looked at rings I fell in love with a set that had small hearts on the band and very tiny diamond in the center. It was so small that you had to squint your eyes to see it but I loved it. I also loved the price tag, $50! I knew that if we spent if we bought that set then he would have more money to purchase some livestock after we got married. So, that is what we did. Do you think that by having a small diamond that I took my marriage any less seriously? Did it make our commitment to our marriage any less because I had a small diamond? Does having a large diamond really make a difference? I didn’t for us. We will be celebrating our 44th wedding anniversary soon and even though I have a newer and bigger diamond on my finger now, it doesn’t make my marriage any better. That small diamond meant as much to me as this large one. By not spending all of his money on a wedding ring he was able to purchase a dairy cow and some pigs that soon paid my car payments on my new car.
I had two daughters that are a little older that had their first babies this past year. My one daughter was 42 years old and had a little 3-pound baby girl and the other is 28 years old with a little girl a little bigger than that. Within moments the rest of their lives were totally changed by that small infants that became a part of their family. It’s hard to believe that such a tiny little person can so totally change a whole lifetime for another person. But they sure do! From those small things become great moments in life.
I too had a tiny baby born as a young mom. Because of complications at birth, she had cerebral palsy. That tiny 4 pound little girl changed my life forever. It was a challenge but being young mom I thought I could handle it. But, it was the small things that helped me meet the big challenges I faced.
A very wise doctor spoke just a few words to make a huge difference in the way she was raised. He told me, “Let her do things herself.” As a mom with a child who had disabilities, it was the best few words of advice I could have been given.
I remember when I was growing up how a teacher who always said small kind words to me always made me feel important and valued. She helped my self-esteem so much with small kind words and little acts of kindness towards me. I think we could all tell of a time that we have had when someone whose small acts of kindness made a big impact on our lives and perhaps the person committing the act had no idea the difference they made. I have a daughter that volunteered as a counselor at a Drug Free Youth summer camp for at-risk teens. At the end of the week everyone wrote little notes to others called “Little Warm Fuzzys.” After my daughter was home she read the notes and one young woman had told her that the only reason she had agreed to go to the camp was so that she could commit suicide. But, she told my daughter that because of her small kind words and things she did through out the week made her realize that she didn’t need to kill herself. Of course my daughter was stunned and started crying because she had no idea that she had made that much difference to anyone.
In the Old Testament we find a story about a woman and how her small acts of kindness meant big things for others. "In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor. About that time she became sick and died, and her body was washed and placed in an upstairs room. Lydda was near Joppa; so when the disciples heard that Peter was in Lydda, they sent two men to him and urged him, 'Please come at once!' Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. Peter sent them all out of the room; then he got down on his knees and prayed. Turning toward the dead woman, he said, 'Tabitha, get up.' She opened her eyes, and seeing Peter she sat up. He took her by the hand and helped her to her feet. Then he called the believers and the widows and presented her to them alive. This became known all over Joppa, and many people believed in the Lord." Her acts of kindness did not go un-rewarded.
Small acts of service are important not only to those who receive the service but to those who give the service. Service doesn’t have to be major projects. You don’t have to take on projects like serving as the Event Chair for your community Relay for Life. You can make a difference with just small acts of service. How many times have you given a $1 bill to The Children’s Miracle Network? It might not have seemed like much for you to do at the time, but to a parent of a small child who has hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical expenses facing them, those $1 bills add up! Every time you perform one small act of service for someone, smile because you might have made a very big difference in his or her life.
How many of you have sewn a wedding dress for your daughter? How many of you have ever made a Halloween costume? How many of you have ever sewn on a button? Is sewing on the button any less significant than making a wedding dress? Maybe it isn’t. Imagine sewing a button on a suit jacket so your husband could go for a very important job interview. At that time it would be important to him to put his best foot forward and look his best. Imagine taking a moment on a busy school morning to sew on a button on a shirt for your 12-year-old son because he will be giving a speech in class in front of his peers. Is that important to him? When put in that perspective is sewing on a small button important?
Let us give a small touch here, a small kind word there, food to the hungry, advice and counsel to those in need. Let us give small prayers for those who are frightened, kindness to those whom no one else thinks about, respect and affection to small children, and loving care for those who carry heavy burdens. By doing these small things we can make a big difference in life for others.