The Little Things


Our time at St. Paul’s Senior Services was over for Pam and myself.  We had said our goodbyes, completed our evaluations, met with our supervisor and the field education director.   We were doing quite a good job at detachment and moving on but there were one or two residents that we wanted to keep in touch with.   One of them was Stan.

Stan is his real name! I know that he would not mind me using his story as an example.  I had become friends with Stan over our time at St. Paul’s and we had shared some highs and some lows together.   One day Pam and I had popped up to his room to see if he was about.  When he didn’t answer his door, Pam wrote him a little note to say that we had come by to visit.  Last week I arranged with Pam to visit Stan after work one evening.   We went up to his room and there he was very pleased to see us.   As we were talking he went to his bedside cabinet and pulled out a stack of papers.  He had kept every handout that we had made, every service book produced and there on the top of the stack of papers was Pam’s handwritten note.    It was clear that even the smallest thing to us was a significant memory for Stan.

In ministry we often think about the big things.  How a program or ministry will achieve its goals and improve on what we did last year.   Whilst it is important to keep moving forward, to continually strive to find new ways on how we can make the gospel relevant to today’s and tomorrow’s generations, we should never lose sight of the fact that God’s kingdom is here in the present, in our everyday lives and in the routine and even mundane things that we do each and every day.

Sometimes it is our small gestures, the basic building blocks of our pastoral care that makes a difference.   Nothing is too small to be insignificant and each and every one of our actions has the potential to be transformative and renewing.

My interaction with Stan reminds me that staying those extra ten minutes at coffee hour, making that phone call that otherwise would be easy to put off or not forgetting to ask about a sick relative are all just as important as delivering a powerful sermon or launching a new cycle of bible study.  For in Christ the last shall be first, the weakest will be the strongest, the smallest of children will be the inheritors of the kingdom of God.

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