Our life this past fall was so full to the brim in the evenings that we hardly had a chance to help out at the shelter with our church, something our church does once a month, providing dinner for the families staying there so they can be freed up to go to classes or just spend an evening with their kids without having to cook.
This time we were free, and so I signed up to bring 9 cups of onions and celery, the easiest job on the list, which also sounds really lame–“I’m bringing onions and celery that will be stirred into the mixture that no one will really see or notice.”
There it is, the trickery of my heart which deceives me and tells me first of all that the little things don’t matter, and second of all that I need to do something that people will notice. I can begin to think that the insignificant things are less than and meaningless, and that I’m so awesome that I need to do something that matches my awesomeness.
The fact of the matter is, onions and celery do make a difference in the taste of a dish, even though they are next to invisible and almost indistinguishable.
And while I don’t want to over spiritualize onions, and all the other random ingredients that were brought, I’m going to anyway:
All of these things we may think are little add up to something big.
The way the church works best is to bring together all the little parts of the body and combine it to make a whole–a fully impacting work of God that without the little pieces just limps along incomplete.
Bringing onions and celery to add to the pot is so not a big deal, it makes me no awesome person and is probably the easiest part of the whole shebang. But the point is, all of us working together to help the least of these is what really matters. And none of us need any credit for any of it at all.
I tried encouraging a sweet child with these words when she thought her job in the serving was too insignificant for her, and I could see the struggles I usually shove down in my heart and hide billowing forth through her little mouth and full of emotion and tears, desiring to have a job that brings more recognition and that seems more important.
It’s just plain hard sometimes to do the service that seems meaningless and unnoticeable, because our flesh cries out for something more important.
In reality, the way Jesus always intended it is that we would each take part in the serving and loving of people, not for personal gain but for the living out of the Gospel, together, with each other, so that it will all point back to Him.
It takes every little bit in order to create a whole, meaningful impact.
I often feel like my little bit is way too little. I look on and admire the faithful ones who carve out time to serve in so many, many, ways, and then I look at my meager offerings and feel extremely insignificant.
But the truth is, all of it matters, down to the tiniest bit. And when I’m tempted to think that my part doesn’t matter, my eyes have begun to focus on me instead of focusing on Christ and his purpose for the church.
We are partners in the Gospel, helping each other with the best mission, making His name known.
Even if it’s just by bringing the onions and the celery.