“Ten Things God Wants You to Remember.” That’s what was written on the front side of the card, along with a list: “I am for you. I love you. I believe in you. I will not fail you. I will be with you. I will provide for you. I will bless you. I will give you rest. I will strengthen you. I will answer you.”
On the inside, my friend Mary had written a short note. “Not sure why I thought you needed this card,” she wrote in red ballpoint, “but I did. You are loved, friend!”
I was touched to receive a card for no reason from a friend halfway across the country. Real mail is nearly a thing of the past these days, so when the mailbox holds more than the scarlet Netflix envelope and the electric bill, it’s a banner day. After I read Mary’s note, I propped the card open on the kitchen counter, right next to the microwave.
“I really like that card,” Noah mentioned later as we sat side-by-side on the living room couch. “I like the words on the cover. They comfort me.”
I looked up from my book. “You mean the card on the kitchen counter? If you really like it, you can have it, you know,” I said. “If you want, you can keep it right on your nightstand, so you can read it whenever you want.”
Turns it, it wasn’t me who had needed the card.
My friend Mary couldn’t have known Noah needed to read the words inscribed on that DaySpring card. I hadn’t known. Noah himself probably hadn’t known. But those words were the exact message he needed to hear. And they were sent by someone he’d never even met, someone in Pennsylvania who’d simply obeyed a nudge, a sense that those words were needed out here on the Great Plains.
I think sometimes we assume that if our gestures aren’t grand, if our sacrifices aren’t radical, then we aren’t truly “all in,” we aren’t truly living for God.
We believe that if we aren’t founding orphanages in Uganda or digging wells in Kenya, we aren’t really living an obedient, sacrificial life, a Jesusy-enough life. When our service seems ordinary, we wonder if we are “doing enough.”
Now, I have nothing against founding orphanages and digging wells. If that’s your calling, if that’s where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet, as Frederick Buechner said, then I say go for it with gusto.
But if your acts of loving kindness and service are less dramatic — a little more Hallmark, a little less Habitat for Humanity — I say carry on with confidence.
Listen to the Holy Spirit and heed. Follow through on those subtle nudges, those gentle prods in your heart. Because you never know – as Mother Teresa once said, your one small thing may offer someone a glimpse of great love.
“Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin…” (Zechariah 4:10)