Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Little Things. . .

When I sit down with parents to talk about the baptism of their children, I spend a few moments talking to them about the little things.  As parents we worry over the big things and stress over the stuff that may or may not come but any child will tell you that parenting is about the small stuff.  Praying even before the child is aware of the prayer... holding and watching while the baby sleeps away in your arms... fussing with the fussy child during the times when life is uncomfortable and painful... taking a child to church when no child even knows what church is...  It is not the choice of a college or major or career or spouse but it is that which makes children into believers and keeps them in the company of the faithful when so many things would entice them away.

Parenting is not the only arena where the little things matter.  Our Christian lives are seldom lived out on the fields of martyrdom or in far off corners of the world or in the midst of great crowds.  They are lived as husband to wife and wife to husband in the daily grind of work and home and a little play.  They are lived out in the joy and burden of parenting in the ordinary routines of bath and bedtimes, school and homework, dinner and a snack, packaging toys and then picking them up...  the prayers prayed when eyes are closing and the faith displayed when life is falling... 

“It is a hidden glory in the Christian life to practice faithfulness in little things, that is, in one’s vocation; yet it is more difficult and more glorious than martyrdom. Martyrdom is aided by an agitated time, an emotional disposition, and it is often quickly won; it only takes a brief moment. But being faithful in little things involves bearing patiently the quiet tedium of a monotonous, elapsing life to the praise of the Lord.” (p. 81,  The Word Remains: Selected Writings on the Church Year and the Christian Life by Wilhelm Löhe)

Yes, Löhe has it right.  Quiet tedium. . . monotonous life. . . that become the occasions of praise and the domain of faith.  We spend too much time trying to figure out what to do with the major events and giant issues and too little time trying to live out our faith right where we are.  God has destined few of us for the kind of greatness that the world notices but He has given us all a place and a purpose in which the true greatness of the Kingdom is displayed.  The glory of the Kingdom does not wait for grand moments or mountain top experiences but finds its way into the ordinary, the mundane, and the routine.  If we look through eyes of faith we see it and it is our privilege to be part of it.

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