Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin . . .
A fond memory from my recent mission trip to El Salvador was a small event, taking no more than 30 seconds, but one that made a big impact on me.
Liz, our translator, had supplies to make piñatas, an activity we could do with the women and older children after teaching the day’s hygiene lessons. It took two days to make the piñatas. On the second day, we strung some cord between two trees for hanging the piñatas to make it easier to decorate them. One of the women on our mission team was pulling the cord from one tree to the other. She tripped on a large rock, just a small trip, an incident that didn’t draw any attention.
Debora, the same girl who had given us her bracelets the previous day, saw it happen. With no fanfare, I saw her move the rock, along with another large rock, to the base of a nearby tree.
It was a small gesture that touched my heart and told me volumes about this young girl. Her attentiveness and action were a lesson to me. She simply saw a need and acted. She paid attention closely enough to notice the trip, and responded from a heart of compassion. I think I am the only person who even saw Debora’s action.
How many such opportunities do I miss because I get distracted by other things going on or worse yet, by my own thoughts? I wonder how often I am so preoccupied with myself that I don’t see a simple way to make things better for others. The pace at which we move can blind us to small acts of love and thoughtfulness toward others. When my head is down, looking at the screen of my phone, I miss the chance to show love to one of my brothers or sisters.
1 John 3:18 says: Little children, let’s not love with words or speech but with action and truth. Debora loved with action. He act of noticing and moving the rocks and her generosity in sharing her bracelets with us was love that needed no words. These were simple but powerful acts of love that challenge me to follow her example. If I am to love with action I must be intentional about paying attention to the rocks in another’s path.