It was likely an ordinary day. A few moments spent packing an ordinary lunch so her son could be nourished. Maybe she was busy getting out the door that morning and almost forgot to pack a lunch at all. Or maybe her son forgot to grab it, so she ran down the road after him just to make sure he had it. Maybe the boy’s father packed his lunch. Or maybe Grandma baked the bread herself and Grandpa caught the fish.
There are so many potential scenarios, but since I’m a mother I like to imagine it was her making his lunch that day. Someone, somewhere, served in an unseen, ordinary way, and Jesus casually turned the ordinary into a miracle. As that mother swept the crumbs from the kitchen floor I wonder if she felt that same inner angst so many of us often feel: is what I’m doing of any real significance?
As she knelt down to teach her son how to share for the 5,000th time, did she
wonder if it would ever make a difference? When she tried to teach her son to trust and hunger after God did she wonder if he was even listening?
The little boy’s mama would probably never know just how far the loaves of bread would reach when she packed yet another lunch.
She had no idea how many hungry souls would be fed by it for hundreds of generations to come—all across the globe. She probably never imagined the ripple effect of her simple, everyday offering.
I wonder if she knew that it’s often those hidden moments that are the most priceless. Often, faith isn’t flashy or catchy. Faith is simple obedience wrapped in childlike love.
Sometimes it might look like rocking a child with an attachment disorder to sleep after an exhausting day. Or consistently visiting the lonely widow at the nursing home. Maybe it looks like my sister searching all over the house for her foster daughter’s lost lovie just because she knew she couldn’t fall asleep without it.
It might look like my friend changing the diapers of her grown, disabled, adopted daughter each day while also caring for her biological toddler. Or my parents who waved goodbye through tears to all three of their grown daughters as we left with our families to serve overseas. Maybe it looks like our other friend, faithfully loving Jesus and caring for her five boys after losing her husband and just being diagnosed with cancer. Maybe it looks like a hug.
Only Jesus can transform a sticky kitchen floor, busy airport, or brightly lit hospital room into holy ground where His presence can be ushered in.
But for me, sometimes simply being faithful in the mundane can feel the most daunting. I’ve heard others wrestle with this same nagging inner angst of wanting to impact the world in significant ways rather than wash another pile of dishes or make another meal. I’ve found, whether I’m in America or a third-world country, God often seems to tell me to do a lot of small things that seem to simply make small impacts. I constantly need an eternal mindset that is at peace with giving whatever I have to offer wholeheartedly in the present . . . because the present is a precious gift that can ultimately touch eternity.
Several years ago I was struggling with a familiar ache I had to adopt a child (a dream I’ve had since I was little). As I was asking God yet again to grant that desire, I clearly felt Him say this: “Give me your heart, and I will multiply it.”
He didn’t immediately give me what I wanted or thought was best. He simply asked for my heart, no matter the outcome. He wants our hands open, ready to give every dream and desire—no matter how noble. Clenched hands won’t produce multiplied love.
He isn’t asking us to save the world. He’s asking for our hearts and that will practically look 5,000 different ways.
When God chooses to work in an obvious or miraculous way it’s thrilling because we get an insatiable taste of eternity placed inside a moment. But maybe we will rarely see the visible results of our quiet faith, and that’s OK, too. Glorifying God doesn’t always look glamorous. Jesus didn’t come to look glamorous.
“He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him” (Isaiah 53:2).
In a self-centered world, we have to constantly hold each moment up to the reflection of eternity rather than ourselves. Whether we see big results or not isn’t the point. Did we do what He gave us to do today? When we weren’t sure what we were supposed to do did we wholeheartedly love whoever was right in front of us?
We don’t have to know all the outcomes to know and give love.
Today you might be teaching your child to love and share and packing him a lunch. Twenty years from now you may be helping him pack a suitcase as he prepares to share that love across the globe. It all starts somewhere, and part of it starts with you today.
When we live this way, our lives will look distinctly different though they might also look quite typical. No one will know or acknowledge many of the things we do and say, and that’s OK. The smaller we get, the more He can do with whatever we’re offering. Give Him your heart and He will multiply it.
“. . . we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7-9).
When that mama tucked him in bed and asked about his day, I wonder if he sleepily told her about the miracle Jesus had done with his little lunch. I wonder if that made her tiring day worth every moment. Maybe that night, her dreams were different . . . because love had touched her ordinary life and made everything eternally significant.
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).
Previously published on the author’s blog