“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness and love.” – Gandalf
Ah Gandalf, wizard of Middle Earth, lover of Hobbits, and an inspiration to the imagination of countless little boys. That story just brings me back to the days when things seemed much simpler. It seems like now its all about who can make the most impact. Who can do the most for God, whose church has the most attendees or community programs. Those are the important things, right?
“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” – 1 Corinthians 1:27
We come up with big, elaborate plans to evangelize the nation or save cities through our outreach, yet when it comes to actually doing the small, everyday deeds that see those goals truly accomplished, we often overlook them in favor of some grand scheme to change the world. But it’s actually the small, simple acts that end up changing the tides.
The Great Awakening, Revivals, all these things, their biggest impacts weren’t the huge crusades touring the country and preaching the name of Christ. No, it was the people who heard that message, and lived differently as a result of it. It was a woman being kind to her annoying neighbor, the kid talking to that one weird boy sitting alone at lunchtime, the man living ethically in his work and home, doing things to the best of his ability to honor his Father. If they simply heard it and did nothing it would have been worthless. It was the simple actions of ordinary folk that truly changed the culture.
“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
I am nothing. All those big, important acts, and yet, I am nothing. Even if I prophesy to nations, spark the greatest revival in the history of our world, I am still nothing without love. Love, love is the one thing that truly changes people. It’s the simple acts of kindness that soften the hearts of unbelievers and revives the hearts of the unbelieving. Not some big, flashy church with hip music, powerful messages, relatable analogies, and a big outreach program. Those are secondary, but unconditional, simple, radical love is what is required to truly repel this present darkness.
So don’t concentrate on the big and the flashy. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr. :
“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.”
Do what God has called you to with excellence, even the small things. Those are the things that matter the most, so don’t skimp over them. Love boldly. Love simply.