I am a huge, HUGE, fan of cardigan sweaters, and I am always on the lookout for the perfect one. For starters, they are great for layering. This is particularly important when you live someplace where it can be winter when you leave the house in the morning and roughly the temperature of the sun’s surface by mid-afternoon. Cardigans also look great with almost everything—jeans and boots, yoga pants, a sundress, pajamas. Not only that, but they cover a multitude of sins (and by sins I mean the nightly Nutella snack that has led to my muffin top).
The only thing I love more than a cardigan is a cardigan with pockets for my lip gloss, reading glasses, tissue, extra hair ties, highlighter, grocery list, cell phone—you get the idea. So, a few weeks ago when a woman in my Bible study showed up in a blue (my favorite color) zip-up cardigan with pockets, of course, I complimented her on her sweater.
Actually, I gushed.
That’s a great sweater! What a beautiful blue. And it’s a great length. Long, but not too long. And it’s roomy without being bulky. Does it have pockets? Oh wow, yes! I love a sweater with pockets. Seriously, that is a great sweater. That might be the perfect sweater.
I know that might sound over the top, but again, I really love a good cardigan. And while my effusive expression of admiration might have been a little much, it was sincere, and I really was just admiring her sweater—not asking for it. That’s why when this woman stood up, took off her perfect sweater, and handed it to me, I was surprised.
“I think it would make Jesus happy if I give you this sweater,” she said.
I was stunned. Stunned and delighted.
At first, of course, I tried to refuse. I mean, the offer was nice, but certainly not necessary. And honestly, I felt a little weird taking this woman’s sweater literally right off her back. But she gently insisted. So eventually (OK, in seconds), I agreed. After all, she did say Jesus wanted me to have it.
Thank you, Lord! And thank you, friend! This sweater is every bit as awesome as I thought. I wear it to work, to church, to run errands, and to take the dog for a walk. But mostly I wear it at home because it’s so cozy, and it makes me happy to have it on as much as possible.
Still, the best thing about this sweater isn’t how cute and versatile it is.
The best thing is that it serves as a constant reminder of the goodness of God and of the unmerited kindness of someone seeking to do His will even in the most unplanned ways—like handing over her cardigan to someone just because it will make them happy.
This sweater also serves as a reminder of the kind of person I want to be—the kind of person who is always looking for ways to please Jesus by giving to others.
Mother Theresa said, “We cannot all do great things, but we can do small things with great love.
That is what this cardigan is . . . a seemingly small gift given with great love.
In the meantime, as I look for opportunities to do small things with great love, this sweater also serves as a reminder to pray. When I wear it, I pray to become more like Christ. I pray that through my little acts of love, I can show His great love to others. And I pray for the lady in my Bible study who, because she wanted to make Jesus happy, gave me so much more than just a great sweater.