Aloha Friday Message – September 16, 2016 – Thinking Small

1638AFC091616 – Thinking Small

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Luke 16:10 1“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much.

Aloha pumehana, ʻŌmea. Today I want to share with you the power of thinking small. It seems counterintuitive in this world where we are so often challenged to “Think BIG!” Life seems to be a hyperbole – everything is exaggerated whether good or bad, big or small, old or new, false or true. We want our lives to be bigger and our world to be smaller. We want hundreds of “friends” and belittle families. We embrace the sparkle but live in the shadows. We shun the Light and cherish the darkness. We struggle for life in a culture of death. We advocate World Peace and despise our neighbors. We condemn these faults in everyone and excuse them in ourselves. There are those among us, though, who have humbler aspirations. I will show you two women today who inspire millions to think and do in small ways. First, I want to insert the Moon Beam Network Prayer because what I will be writing about is a strong influence in that prayer.

Father, I take a moment to remember everyone in the Moon Beam Network. Watch over them all. Bless them. Protect them. Guide them. Direct them. Keep them all safe from any harm or danger in body mind and spirit. See to their temporal needs and continue to call them all to a deeper spiritual awareness of and commitment to you through Jesus. Increase their faith and fill them with your Light. Bless everyone who prays for us and everyone who asks for our prayers. Bless all of us with the will to do small things with great love, that love which we share among all of the members of the Moon Beam Network. Likewise bless everyone I have ever loved and everyone who has ever loved me, and anyone who has ever loved them, for the love we have comes from You through Your Son Jesus the Christ by the ministry of The Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Gospel verse today is from Sunday’s parable about the dishonest steward. He was cheating his boss, and the boss found out and sent him packing. Before leaving, though, he called in some of the folks who owed the boss money and cooked the books with them. He made those people complicit in his crime in the hope that they would help him avoid having to be an honest laborer once he was canned. That’s a pretty greedy, lazy outlook on life. When the boss heard about it he had to chuckle about the “creativeness” of the crook, crediting him for his cleverness. Jesus also says in Luke 16:9 And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth [mammon] so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.

Is Jesus telling us to be crooks? No, of course not. He is saying that we can use worldly wealth in ways that help others; then, when that is all used up, others will welcome you into their lasting protection. The worldly are often more careful about their actions and choices than others who are naïve in the ways of The World. Believers and nonbelievers alike are commanded by God to use their wealth to help the poor, to make the lives of others better, and to guide our lives toward compassion and generosity rather than indifference and greed. In doing so we may gain the friendship and admiration of others – even the angels would rejoice over that kind of repentance. Every time we take advantage of the opportunity to do just one little something for someone else, we take a step closer to the Narrow Gate on the Straight and Narrow way. When we do little things for the marginalized – or for the aggrandized – we do them for Jesus. Simple little things like giving alms, or food, or shelter, or clothing, or even a drink of water: Matthew 10:40-42 42 and whoever gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones in the name of a disciple—truly I tell you, none of these will lose their reward.” That’s the easy path to heaven – just doing the little things that make the world around you a better place for everyone around you.

I know a couple of moms who navigate the storms of life for very large families. Day after day there is an endless list of little things that are needed for the family to keep going. Their husbands play a role in it – sometimes helpful, sometimes not-so-much – and kids are deputized to do certain chores, but it’s always MOM who keeps the ship afloat and on course. We all know families like that; even families with only one child depend on Mom to make it all work. And it certainly is all work! If you ask them, “Why do you do all this?” you might on occasion hear, “Sometimes I wonder.” But if you watch them, you see that every piddling little task, every noisome chore, and every crisis conquered is accomplished through indefatigable LOVE. They do all those small things with great love. There is a reason for that thought being in the MBN Prayer.

St. TeresaPretty much all the world knows who Mother Theresa is. Recently canonized, she has been an exemplar of putting her whole life into doing the little stuff that many consider to be beneath their personal dignity. For this amazing woman, her personal dignity was simply not part of the equation. The needs of others always superseded her own needs. Here are some actual, genuine examples of how she saw that working for her in her own life:

We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But if the drop was not in the ocean, I think the ocean would be less because of the missing drop.

I do not agree with a big way of doing things. What matters is the individual. If we wait till we get numbers, then we will be lost in the numbers and we will never be able to show that love and respect for the person.

Don’t look for big things, just do small things with great love….The smaller the thing, the greater must be our love. [emphasis added]

Here, too, are some “quotes” misattributed to this remarkable woman:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.

Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.

Do not think that love, in order to be genuine, has to be extraordinary. What we need is to love without getting tired.

Therese_de_LisieuxI encourage you to find the actual, true quotations from St. Theresa of Calcutta. The quotes falsely attributed to her are nice, but still inaccurate. Another Saint who is often quoted (and misquoted) is St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Here are some quotes from her autobiography, The Story of a Soul.

Little things done out of love are those that charm the Heart of Christ… On the contrary, the most brilliant deeds, when done without love, are but nothingness.

But I will look for some means of going to heaven by a little way which is very short and very straight, a little way that is quite new […]. It is your arms, Jesus, which are the lift to carry me to heaven, And so there is no need for me to grow up. In fact, just the opposite: I must stay little and become less and less.

Scripture gives us many examples of God’s preference for the little things done lovingly in life. For example:

1 Corinthians 16:14 14 Let all that you do be done in love.

1 John 3:18-20 18 Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action. 19 And by this we will know that we are from the truth and will reassure our hearts before him 20 whenever our hearts condemn us; for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything.

 1 Corinthians 1:27-29 27 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; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29 so that no one might boast in the presence of God.

Everywhere we turn each day we are enticed to listen to The World – social media, politics, fascist governments, all sorts of other mass-media venues, educational institutions, and global economic powers tell us we are being deprived of our piece of the pie. And where is that pie? It is pie in the sky. The real value in life is in ignoring the world and listening to God. That is one little thing you can do that will truly make The World a better place; it is your drop in the ocean, it is your starfish cast into the sea, your Little Light (↔ Music Link) that shines against the darkness. (See Luke 11:33-35) We don’t have to take our cues for success from The World in fact, we must not do that. Remember Jesus’ words in Luke 10:16 16 “Whoever listens to you listens to me, and whoever rejects you rejects me, and whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me.”

Those moms and dads that we know who do little things with great love listen to The Word, not The World. That is how they can “do small things with great love.” That is why that thought is in our MBN prayer. Read it again, please, and pray it often. It can help you silence the din of The World around us. No, it won’t make your kids quiet down, or stop your husband from asking stupid questions. It won’t silence the neighbor who mows the lawn during the evening news or the Shih Tzu that yaps day and night. It won’t reform the guy who watches football every Sunday with 30 beer-fueled screaming fans. It won’t even turn your kids into dutiful little minions who anticipate the family’s needs and fulfill them. It will just give you that quiet place in your soul where you can take a little breather and say, “That’s done. What’s next, Father?”

⇒⇒♥⇒⇒Special message to the kids and dads in those large households: Do those little things Mom needs and treasures. Do the dishes, change the diapers, fold the laundry, put lotion on her feet, be sure there’s coffee in her mug in the morning, go to church with her and pay attention, and – best of all – tell her often and clearly “We love you. Thank you!” She does all the little things that make your life livable. And yes, I realize I chose two women who were not moms. The list of Saints who are moms begins with Our Blesséd Mother Mary and include hundreds more. Check it out!

Whatever, whenever, wherever, whoever, however, if ever, forever — at your service, Belovéd!

Unless otherwise indicated, all scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Aloha Friday Messages by Charles O. Todd, III is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License

 

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About Chick Todd

American Roman Catholic reared as a "Baptiterian" in Denver Colorado.

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