It’s the most popular exhibit in the world’s most visited museum. Among the great treasures of antiquity housed at the British Museum, it could be argued that none is more valuable than the Rosetta Stone. Carved in the second century B.C., the three-language script on the stone celebrates the coronation of a new Egyptian monarch — and until the stone’s discovery, an understanding of hieroglyphics was almost non-existent. The story of the Rosetta’s discovery is an interesting lesson in how unnoticed things can have great value. It seems that at the time the stone was identified in 1799, it was being used as part of the pavement in a French fort, unnoticed for centuries until an observant soldier realized its potential value. Yes, sometimes little things can prove to be very important. I believe this axiom is true in serving the Lord.
In many of Jesus’ parables, He speaks of the Kingdom of God in the context of small unnoticed objects. In Matthew 13, he offers a series of parables that liken the Kingdom to a pearl hidden in a field, to a little leaven that is necessary in baking bread, or, to a mustard seed that, over time, becomes a great tree. Jesus’ point is simple: the Kingdom that God is building over time is composed of what may seem to be, at first, small unnoticed things. Yet, these small things can make a great difference. More than teaching these principles, Jesus lived them!
Christ’s ministry reflected his interest and investment in the common, often unnoticed events that defined the lives of those he served: welcoming the playful attention of a circle of children … a late-night conversation with Nicodemus … writing with his finger in the dust of the ground as a terrified woman stands beside him … an invitation to the diminutive tax collector Zacchaeus to come down from the sycamore tree and have lunch with him … with gratitude receiving a little boy’s lunch of loaves and fish … washing 12 pairs of dirty feet in the upper room at Passover. While Jesus did perform many amazing public miracles, it seems that much of His ministry was contributed in simple settings, performing deeds that may not seem, initially, all that important. There is a lesson for us in Jesus’ example.
After more than four decades of following Jesus, I am convinced I may never accomplish any headline grabbing successes. I don’t anticipate a building being named after me. I don’t think my portrait will ever hang in the gallery of a museum or the lobby of a cathedral. Yet, I’m also at peace with that reality that what Jesus intends for most of us, is to contribute small deeds of kindness, love, and selfless interest on behalf of others. A handwritten card of appreciation, a phone call of encouragement, showing up when someone needs you, prayers of support: Small deeds, done consistently and well, in love for others, is how God uses us, to build His Kingdom!
Southern Union | October 2023