The Small Things
This year, the coach of my son’s high school basketball team asked each of his players to “give up” something during their season. The “somethings” they were to give up were things like ice cream, video games, junk food, or sodas. The idea was that whenever you wanted the thing you “gave up,” you would remember your commitment and goals for your team and teammates.
My son, David, said he offered to give up homework, but the coach rejected that one. Instead, he gave up sodas.
David is not a huge soda drinker, so perhaps he thought it would be a relatively easy thing to give up. And so it was…for the first week or two. But the “pause that refreshes” took on an entirely new desire as the days and weeks passed by. In fact toward the end of the season David said, “I’m not sure what I want more, to get to the playoffs or have a Coke.”
Without thinking (I blame latent A.D.D.), I was constantly offering David a Coke over the course of the season—especially at restaurants. Each time he would look at me like a sad puppy and mumble something like, “Thanks a lot, Dad, I’ll just have water.” Of course, I, as his loving father and in full support of his commitment, would order a soda and boisterously enjoy each gulp.
I’ve thought a lot about this past high school basketball season. Not so much about basketball, but a lot about the “give-up-soda” thing. You see, if I’m honest with myself, I suspect I would have cheated and had a Coke—or two. After all, I bet some of the other kids broke their commitment…
But David didn’t. To my knowledge, not even one sip. And while I could go on to list a few items that would be much less flattering regarding my youngest son, I’ll stop here in order to leave the impression he’s a perfect child.
It’s probably no surprise that the Bible has a whole lot to say about the “little things.” Jesus addressed the concept in his parable about the shrewd manager, “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. But if you are dishonest in little things, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities” (Matt. 16:10 New Living Bible).
My Grandparents were missionary pioneers in Cuba and my dad was born and raised there. Over 40 years ago, my dad started a ministry called LOGOI. Part of LOGOI’s ministry, in essence, is continuing the work my grandfather began over 80 years ago.
Last year, LOGOI started a project to help Cuban pastors get a pig – a simple yet practical way to help them survive financially. I have the joy of being part of this project.
We just received a touching note from a Cuban pastor who had just received his pig. His words were few but profound, “Thank you for your help,” he wrote, “This pig will sustain my family and will give me an opportunity to buy a little bed for my daughter.” (He renamed his pig, “Camita” which means, “little bed.”)
Here’s what happened: some gracious folks here in the United States—despite our economic woes—decided they would “be faithful in the little things” with some of their funds. On the other end is a young pastor in Cuba who truly is living day-to-day by faith (having given up all of his government provided provisions in order to become a pastor). There is also a beautiful four-year-old girl who really needs a bed of her own.
In God’s amazing grace, and in very unlikely ways, they all come together.
Aren’t you glad God just asks us to be faithful in the little things? Sort of like that Coke… such a small thing really, but “unless we are faithful in small matters, we won’t be faithful in the big ones.”
I have a vivid memory of waiting for David to come out of the locker room after the final basketball game this season. The team had fought hard, but lost in a tough playoff game. I loved watching as the boys slowly trickled out of the locker room into the consoling and loving arms of parents and friends.
I was waiting, too. With an ice cold Coke in my hand.
To learn more about LOGOI’s “Pigs for Cuba” ministry, visit www.logoi.org