Sunday, August 09, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Tea - Called to do small things for God

We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
Mother Theresa

Recently I was listening to K-Love while running errands and the hosts were talking about a little old grandmother in Alabama that started teaching people how to cook and telling them about Jesus on Facebook.*  Her small video series on Facebook had gone viral in only a few months.  Thousands of people on lock down not only enjoyed her teaching but started watching Sunday services at her church online.

I knew who she was! I started watching her videos on Facebook after a friend shared one.  I had no idea what her background was or why she started the video teachings.  I just knew that she was adorable and I loved listening to her talk about cooking from scratch.  

She shares mostly from her small kitchen in her home.  I even had my husband watch one of her videos about creaming corn cobs, he has told me for decades his mom used to do this. After watching it, he said I did not have to work that hard just for authentic creamed corn.

This blog does not reach nearly the number of people her cooking show does but it has also gone much further than what I ever would have imagined.  It was started when my daughter told me I needed to write a blog so I didn't need to individually write family members to update them on what was going on in our world.  I didn't even know what a blog was back then.

I had worked on writing projects but when I prayed about doing anything else, I knew that Still Small Voice would say, "just write".  How does one "just write"?  What?  A book?  A magazine article?  Just write... ?  Then I looked at blogging and when I started Coffee, Tea, Books, and Me, it made sense.   For blogging is very much "just writing".

The Bible does mention that we should not look down upon small beginnings. ;)

I grew up being taught in school that our generation was meant to do "great things for society".  Then after becoming a Christian, my Christian leaders talked about "doing great things for Christ".  I think ours was the first generation that was expected to really change the world instead of mainly affecting our homes and communities.

While that may have made good soundbites, it would never work in reality.  For in our quest to reach the world, we often overlooked our neighbors next door, much less the people who lived within our four walls.  For the truth is that very few people would be in a position of power that is world changing but everyone's life touches someone locally.

I have watched while this great desire to change the world had adverse affects on various friends.  I've talked before about our best friends during the time we were a young married couple.  We attended Bible studies and prayer meetings at their house and they were always talking about Jesus and how He changed their lives.

Then, little by little, there was a change and it wasn't until I could look back on it that I saw how their talk shifted from Jesus to how they would someday have a worldwide ministry.  They talked about doing great things for Christ and that would only manifest as a ministry that was known the world over.  They believed by claiming it, such a ministry would come about and soon.

Can you see how at first it was a subtle shift off of Jesus and onto them?  My husband and I didn't know for certain what was happening but we sensed a difference.  We ended up moving away when he finished graduate school and we didn't see them often after that.  We would hear little things now and then through the years from mutual friends that indicated frustrations in their walk with God.

We eventually heard of the husband's death and we didn't find out the full truth.  It was talked about in whispers that indicated it may have been self inflicted.  To be honest, we didn't ask too many questions.  It was a surprise and yet, it wasn't.  

I wonder how many other people have started out assuming they will change the world and could never get over ending up as... average.  We must never think we have failed because we "only" raised a family, went to work, taught a Sunday School class instead of preaching to a crowd, or sung lullabies instead of in a concert hall.  That is the calling upon most of us.

I thought it interesting what the media said when Mother Theresa's personal writing became available after her death.  She had confessed to dealing with depression in her work among the lowest of the low in the slums of India.  Most media personalities said it proved she was not the woman of faith she portrayed.

Really?  They could not see the truth without the wisdom of the Holy Spirit.  Knowing she dealt with depression was proof that she was a woman of great faith.  For only one who has their complete trust in Christ could daily rise from sleep, knowing what they would face.  Each day the slums and the sorrow and the overwhelming needs of the many.  Every day feeding hungry people, caring for the dying, giving dignity back to one person at a time.

When asked how she dealt with the overwhelming needs in the slums of India, she would often say that she loved and helped one person at a time.  She didn't long for a world wide ministry that would shine a light on her, she was the vehicle through which the world around her saw the Light of Jesus in a place of great darkness.

Sometimes God really does change the entire world through one small nun with great love.  He likes to confound the so called wisdom of those who think themselves wise, you know.  Mostly He changes each of us into the person we are to become so we can shed His light and love on those in our immediate surroundings.

The Bible tells us He sees when we give a cup of cold water in His name.  So, I'm fairly certain He sees when you make hot chicken soup in winter for your sick family, cook dinner when you would rather take a nap, budget to deepen your pantry should grocery shelves once again be sparse, or give the grocery store gift card to the unemployed single mom.

He has noticed when you stayed up all night with a feverish child, when you made an extra loaf of quick bread for the elderly widower next door, when bad news was received and you decided to cheer up your family or friends with a homemade cake... with your famous buttercream frosting.

In this season of great worldwide trials, few will be called upon to bring about answers to solve all of our problems.  However, all of us can do something to... as the Mother Theresa quote above states... do small things with great love.

*Cooking with Brenda Gantt on Facebook  (Apparently there is someone with the same name on YouTube but she is a different person.)


Kathy said...

Love this...thank you!

Anonymous said...

Have just recently discovered the other “Brenda” and I love her too. Glad you know her now also. Your post today is much needed. Blessings, Sharon D.

Jenny said...

I have never had a desire to do something great but I have definitely felt a great deal of peer pressure to find something great to do.

When I was growing up I just wanted to grow up, get married & have children; to stay home with them & raise them. I got to live my dream because I married a man who wanted the same things thankfully.

But even while living my dream I struggled...& still do...that it wasn't enough. That I should be doing more. The pandemic has actually brought a relief from all that pressure. No one expects anything from me beyond my family. I don't know if that's really good for me but I am happy to be able to just stay home.

Lisa said...

Yes to all of this. I couldn’t agree more how small acts of love could change the world.

Lisa said...

Yes to all of this. I couldn’t agree more that small acts of love can change the world.

Vee said...

Hmmm...I should probably wander off now. I am in agreement with much of what you say and couldn't disagree more with the rest. Brenda, this is unheard of for us! 😁 Yup, it has come to this. You will never know the influence you have been on many and how that has rippled out to an even larger community.

I do love watching Vlogs. There are so many lovely ones and they're easier on the eyes.

Margie from Toronto said...

A very thought provoking post - thank you.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Brenda. Mairin.

Deanna Rabe said...

I noticed this worldview with books that were aimed at my older kids when in their teens and early twenties. The idea that you've got to do 'great' things for God, or somehow you're not really serving him. I always thought that view contradicted 1 Thessalonians 4:11 - "and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you."

I do great things for God when I live for him in my home and allow him to use me in the lives of those he puts into my life.

You have been very influential on many people, friend! Now, I'm off to FB to check out those videos!

Rebecca said...

So true. So very true...

elizabeth said...

I really appreciated your thoughts here! Thank you!