The value of living a small life…
I once heard Oprah Winfrey say that she leads a BIG life.
As I pondered her statement, I understood exactly what she meant, and I agreed fully.
Shortly after, it lead me to a conclusion of my own…I lead a rather small life.
I am not known by the masses. I do not have a large platform or audience that I influence. I am not doing BIG things or living the kind of life that a magazine would seek to feature.
Please do not misunderstand what I am implying, or feel sad for me in any way. I happen to think that small is good.
SMALL IS GOOD.
“Small” happens to be consistent with the way I view Scripture…with what I see modeled in the life of Jesus and the new testament church.
“…make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,” (1 Thessalonians 4:11)
Jesus was not born into pomp and splendor; he was born of lowly circumstances. His birth was not announced in the society section of the papers (although he did have quite an angelic announcement – but again, it was private). He had no worldly possessions that anyone would envy (Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.” Luke 9:58), and he never sought to acquire them, for he knew that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15
My life may be small, but my life is meaningful. Very meaningful.
The reach of my influence may be limited, but it has a great impact on my family – a profound impact.
I may lead a small life, but I have a BIG and BUSTLING home life.
Oh boy, do I ever!
I have a husband, six kids, two son-in-laws, two new grandsons, and a nephew, all of whom help to make up my bustling family life; and because of them, my life is rich and full!
My days are filled with homeschooling my two youngest: having time to sit around with them to laugh and play, enjoy great literature via read-alouds, scream and yell (just a little) and influence them with the Gospel.
I have college kids – one who lives at home and one married, living close to home – who are constantly at my kitchen table.
They keep me on my toes as I debate certain aspects of the Gospel with one – a zealous new Believer who challenges my comfortable and sometimes sedentary walk with Christ; and a newly wed, who tells me tales of botched dinners that she and her husband ate to avoid starvation!
And I must not forget my young adult nephew…the one who teaches me how to love children that I did not birth; whose presence teaches me that at times, I do not know how to love well at all, which is why I’m in desperate need of Jesus Christ. The one whom God is using to prepare our hearts to foster and adopt.
I so enjoy this stage of parenting young adults. (I enjoy it now, but last year was a real doozy! Which is how I know that El Roi – He is the God Who Sees Me, because I’ve been to the edge of the parental sanity cliff and have almost fallen off.)
It is a small, yet full and bustling life.
I recently stood in a delivery room where my 30-year-old-daughter gave birth to my grandson, and I can hardly believe the miracle that he is…so small and so fragile…a miracle on display.
It seems like just yesterday it was me lying there giving birth to my Ash-Cat.
Just yesterday that I pushed her on a swing.
Not that long ago that I dropped her to Friday night youth.
Just yesterday that I watched my husband give her away, and then danced joyously at her wedding.
As parents, we must not confuse depth of reach with meaningful impact.
We mustn’t mistake notoriety or fame for value.
It is not the quantity (size of mass, or sphere of influence) of your life that matters, it is the quality that matters.
QUALITY: How you’ve touched another person’s life. How you’ve inconvenienced yourself for others. How you’ve lived a life of service. How you let the Gospel wreck your dreams and ambitions. The acts of love you did in Christ’s name when no one else was looking.
My Lord lived a small, yet beautiful and consequential life.
My Jesus never sat in a seat of honor in the synagogue. He never had a title of distinction in front of his name. Even when making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem he rode on a lowly donkey. He was finally announced “King of the Jews” by way of a handmade sign which hung over his head as he hung dying on a tree (John 19:19-21).
He never felt the need to have a good PR (public relations) person. Sometimes he performed miracles and told people not to tell.
Even when standing before Pilate for questioning: “Where do you come from?” … Jesus gave him no answer.” (John 19:9) It could have been his moment to shine, but instead, he decided to let his life give witness.
Yes, Jesus lived a small, yet revolutionary life.
I can not get caught-up in living a BIG life.
I can’t get caught-up in the numbers, the shares, retweets, or the applause of men.
While it may be God’s ordained plan for someone else’s life, truth is, most of us will live a small life – but it can still be glorious and meaningful with Christ.
A life full of God’s graces, marked by amazing highs, and yes, painful lows. A life full of family firsts and precious moments.
Yes, a small life, but one of profound impact, nonetheless.
You see, here are all the small things I’ve got to do…
I have got to get busy lesson planning, making grilled cheese lunches, and reading aloud to my children.
I’ve got to find time to make a family cook book – so they don’t leave home and call me every other day for recipes.
I’ve got to teach two young men how to make at least one meal, well.
I’ve got to greet my young adult, drop-in unannounced kids and their spouses and friends with a broad smile, and never make them feel like their an imposition.
I have to prepare meals for guests – the kind that makes them want to linger – hopefully long enough for an impromptu Bible study with good food and fellowship.
I’ve got to figure out how to pour my life into the life of others, because God fills empty vessels.
All these day-to-day things, the little things – the pouring out, the being still, the cooking and cleaning, the loving and hugging – they add up to really BIG things, which makes for one robust and full life.
Robust and BIG in its own sweet, small way.
This world is always teaching us to strive – to “Be” someone BIG and to “Do” something GREAT – but I’ve always thought that Jesus calls his children to lead an inside-out, upside-down kind of life because it’s in loosing our life that we find eternal life (Matthew 10:39).
Small and thriving,
Life verse: “Who am I, Sovereign Lord, and what is my family, that you have brought
me [us] this far? – 2 Samuel 7:18
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