Small things–and my dream job

Rez's New Name team members standing behind the gifts donated by WA girls' soccer team

Rez’s New Name team members standing behind the gifts donated by WA girls’ soccer team

I’ve decided what job I want in heaven.

It came to me as I sat with a few other women around a table covered in toiletries, jewelry, lotions, and other small gifts. These items had been donated by the girls on the Wheaton Academy soccer team my husband, Dave, coaches. An annual tournament they play in encourages every team to create a service project, and for the past two years the WA girls have supported New Name, a local ministry that partners with area churches to reach out to and walk alongside women in sex trafficking and adult entertainment industries. Last year they made cards to go into the gift bags that New Name teams deliver. This year they went a step further and purchased items to go into the gift bags. Dave gave up a practice for the girls to shop and then gather back at school to make cards and listen as I told them about New Name’s ministry.

gift driveA few days later the members of my church’s New Name chapter unloaded all the purchases at Church of the Resurrection, and we organized them and packed gift bags for outreach.

We oohed and aahed over the pretty soaps and the jewelry, and I told the group, “You know, one of these gifts may be used specifically by God to open a woman’s heart to Him. In a few weeks the girls who purchased these may not even remember what they bought; they might see what they did today as a small thing, but they may discover when they get to heaven that this very lotion”—I held up the bottle in my hand—“may make an eternal difference. Won’t it be awesome to trace it all back! To see how all our stories connect into the Big Story!” It hit me then, and I said, “That’s the job I want in heaven—to follow the stories of people’s salvation and growth in Christ back to all the ‘small’ things that played parts in it. What an awesome job it would be to write down the creativity of God in weaving it all together!”

In chapter 4 of Zechariah, the angel of the Lord visits Zechariah and gives him a vision that encourages the Israelites to keep on with the slow, laborious work of rebuilding the temple. This new temple is a very small accomplishment when compared to the temple that was destroyed, but the angel says, “Who dares despise the day of small things…?” and he goes on to tell Zechariah that the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth and see each act of obedience.

In Matthew Henry’s commentary on this passage, he wrote, ”In God’s work the day of small things is not to be despised. Though the instruments be weak and unlikely, God often chooses such, by them to bring about great things. …Though the beginnings be small, God can make the latter end greatly to increase; a grain of mustard-seed may become a great tree.”

Don’t despise the small things you’re doing. Don’t get discouraged. Keep doing them! Encourage others to persevere as well. Listen as the Spirit leads into seemingly “small things.”

And maybe in heaven I’ll get to write down one paragraph of God’s great story, and we’ll see that each of our “small things” has great significance.

New Name checkBy the way, the tournament directors awarded the top three service projects with a cash prize, and the WA team won first place! They’re donating their $1,000 prize to New Name.

The Eternal View

This little one fell asleep in Molly's arms. When I think about how many children never know this sense of safety...

This little one fell asleep in Molly’s arms. When I think about how many children never know this sense of safety…

Katie has seen more people die than many Americans do in an entire lifetime. She knows that for every person she is able to help, there are hundreds more in similar conditions. All of this has given her an eternal perspective. She says this on page 192: “I may never see the end of horrendous situations on this earth, so instead of trying to fix the situations here and now, I will focus on helping these people come to heaven with me, so we may say together: ‘Death and sadness have been swallowed up in a victory.’ … Christ has overcome the mess that is in this world and I am humbled to get to witness His salvation on a daily basis.”

It is easy to focus on the physical needs of the people we see, but many have the same ultimate hope we have—and they often have a better grasp on it because they don’t have a whole lot to hold onto here on earth. They sing more about heaven than we do because they truly would be glad to trade this life for that! (Sometimes we’re not so sure!)

Remember that Christ saves for eternity. Providing physical necessities is GOOD—and we should do it—but it’s worth very little if it doesn’t open doors for the Gospel that reaches beyond death and gives LIFE that never ends.

 

Side note: Some of you may be feeling that your sense of “home” is being disrupted on this trip. In some ways, this is good. God wants to prepare our hearts for our true home, and part of this process is making us dissatisfied with belonging here on earth. He wants us to long for our home with Him, where all His beauty, righteousness, justice, and love are revealed in full glory.

 

Questions for thought/discussion:

  1. Spend some time thanking God for His eternal gifts—things that will last forever.
  2. Have you heard your Ugandan friends talk about heaven? Maybe in church? How was it different than the ways we talk about heaven?
  3. The Gospel doesn’t only provide us with an eternity spent with God, it also has the power to transform us NOW. Has any African told you their transformation story? How are YOU being transformed by the Gospel? (remember there is no “small” or “big” in God’s eyes)
  4. The long view also encompasses the ability to look past creature comforts and the years of this life to an eternal perspective. How can we live for eternity—not just on this trip but in our at-home lives as well?
  5. We long to “belong” with people. As Christ draws us closer to Himself, we will find our hearts drawn to others who are also nestling close to His heart. When all the members of Christ are joined completely in heaven, we will know belonging as we never knew it here on earth. Have you ever felt a hint of that kind of kinship with someone?

Check this out! please!

Hi everyone,

I am TOO busy right now to do what I just did.

But I couldn’t help it.

For one of the articles I’m currently working on, I interviewed a man whose daughter died of cancer a little over two years ago. She was just a few years older than I am. He mentioned that she blogged and that, in his opinion, she was a wonderful writer and was still helping people go through difficult times through her blog.

So, being a good researcher (ha ha), I checked it out.

And I can’t stop reading it!

Laurie Jane is a wonderful writer! I feel like I know her through her blog, and I am definitely looking this woman up when I get to heaven!

So I wanted to pass it on. Here’s the link to the latest post, which, I’m just warning you, made me cry, because it’s written by one of her friends announcing Laurie Jane’s homegoing: http://beautyliesinthetruestory.blogspot.com/

But if you want to start at the beginning and read how this funny, sassy, deep woman dealt with terrible, terrible pain and trials and how she drew closer to Jesus through it, here’s the link to the very first page of blog entries: http://beautyliesinthetruestory.blogspot.com/search?updated-min=2009-01-01T00:00:00-08:00&updated-max=2009-06-15T16:09:00-07:00&max-results=50&start=98&by-date=false

I’m hoping this helps someone–besides me–today.

Thanks for reading,

Jen