Did I … ?

“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love?’ These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will be many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” (Henri Nouwen)

So many times, I hear people say, “But I can’t do more.” That’s because we are picturing “more” in terms of some type of job or production with hours of planning followed by physically straining and emotionally draining tasks that take us away from families or careers. Oh, how little we trust God’s love. God is not our drill sergeant. God is not a bullying boss who uses us to work in cruel conditions for little compensation. God is love.

Yes, some people are called to ministry and that requires a lifetime of planning and work and giving and serving. Some people are called to coordinate the entire VBS project. Some people are called to plan the preschool curriculum. But they are called in love and blessed by love in return. God equips those whom He calls so that they may face the tasks while being held up by His strength and patience and love and joy.

So what about the rest of us? Can we say we can’t do more? Look back at the opening quote. We are called to love. We are called to forgive. We are called to smile at the stressed workers at the fast food counter and find something nice to say to them. We are called to invite the grieving neighbor over for a meal. We are called to visit the young, scared mother in the hospital as she sits by her child’s bedside. We are called to write a note of encouragement to someone or call and pray with someone over the phone. We are called to give the ministry team a break from time to time and fill in where needed. We are called to bring food for the youth group. We are called to be the helper in a children’s class. We are called to many things.

But God calls us to these moments with the assurance that He will equip us with the resources and strength needed. And we will know that we are bringing the love of God to others, while being loved by God as we serve.

The miracle of God is that He loves us during all of the times that we do nothing. He loves us while we are making a thousand excuses for why we can’t do something. If we open our eyes to the needs of those around us, doing something will not necessarily require lots of time or energy. God will show us ways that we can show more love every single day.

At the times in my life when I merely “got through the day” thinking I could do no more, I missed out on the chance to walk with God and allow Him to bring His joy and peace and love to me more fully. On the days when I ask God to show me how to serve Him, He blesses me richly with His presence and His love and joy.