January 7, 2009

When Small Things Are Really Big

2009 1501 page7 capE HELD THE SHINY OBJECT IN HIS HAND AS IF IT WERE THE Hope Diamond. The man declared it to be “just like a museum piece.”
To me, it was just a quarter—25 U.S. cents, something to slide into the slots of a laundromat washing machine or put into a piggy bank. But to this fellow traveler on a local train headed to Moscow, it was a treasure. Telling the man he could keep the quarter, I was amazed at his gratitude. “This is something I will save for my children and grandchildren,” he exclaimed.
“Small” things can make a big difference. Sometimes just a smile or a word of encouragement has made more of a difference to me than the giver ever realized. Often it’s the small moments in life that yield the most meaningful memories—tucking a child into bed, singing around the piano at family worship, walking through a forest, enjoying a warm fire with friends.
Likewise, “small” gifts can become big when given with a heart of gratitude. For the cost of a pizza, I can make a big difference in the life of someone who is hungering for hope. For the price of a new coat (when my old one is just as warm), I can spread the warmth of God’s love to those who are cold in despair. There are so many places I can give my small gift to make a big difference—some of my favorites include ADRA, Adventist Mission, Adventist World Radio, and the Hope Channel—and of course there are many others, too.
As we head into an uncertain year with big problems facing the world, I invite you to look at how seemingly small things can make a very big difference.
Gina Wahlen was serving as an interim assistant editor at the Adventist Review when she wrote this editorial.