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Walking Our Faith: Good things come in small packages

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson
Walking Our Faith
Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson

We gather on Wednesday afternoons, sitting socially distant, wearing masks and knitting. I’ve been part of this group for nearly five years. When I joined, I was in the midst of a yearlong depression. But Pat made sure I went each week. We carpooled, and I drove, so she made sure I was there.

And that’s what this group has always been about. Yes, we’ve knitted hundreds of prayer shawls and baby blankets over the years and blessed many we will never meet. But this is only part of the group’s purpose. We are friends. We are attuned to one another’s states. We share life’s challenges and are a safe harbor. We are just a group of ladies, but our bond is one of strength and love.

Jesus once described an elderly widow who gave God the pennies she had. He remarked that her offering was more pleasing to God than the large sums given by rich men because her gift was a true sacrifice. 

In another parable Jesus described faith the size of a mustard seed which is not much larger than the mark made by a sharpened pencil. But when this tiny seed is planted, it grows into an enormous tree. Jesus used the example of the mustard seed to describe the ability of even the smallest amount of faith, to do great things.

Right now, I feel so anxious about our country that I don’t know whether to ignore the news and read more books or crawl under the covers and stay there until the end of the year.

But these parables of Jesus give me a better alternative. An alternative that is both productive and powerful and reflects my walk of faith instead of the path of the world.

It is to realize the impact one small life can have in a community. To understand that love is always stronger than hate. I can do small acts of kindness, which might inspire someone else to do the same, and this ripple of goodness may spread in beautifully unexpected ways.

My smallest act of faith, a prayer for someone else, will have a greater impact than critical words.

Throughout history, it has been a lie of the evil one to make us believe our one small voice can’t make a difference. We are told this lie because it’s meant to keep us quiet and feeling dispirited but most of all, to keep us from speaking up and taking action.

But here’s the truth we must repeat to ourselves when we feel discouraged: Greater is he that is within me, than he that is in the world. — 1 John 4:4

The strength, the peace, the love of God, is always within us. That force is greater than any opposition in the world.

When we call upon God, we will be comforted. When we feel overwhelmed by the chaos in our country, God is our steadfast refuge.

We become the mustard seed of faith which has within it the strength of a towering tree.

We are the widow who had so little to give, yet because she gave what she had, the Son of God recognized her offering as great, and she was greatly blessed.

Here’s what we can do: Let’s fill our community with small acts of kindness. Let’s thank the person who bags our groceries and ask the cashier how she’s feeling today. Let’s offer the right of way through that construction snarl and wave to the man holding the sign telling us to slow down. Let’s share a slice of our pumpkin bread and invite a friend for coffee.

God’s goodness inspires us, and our little lights overcome the darkness. God’s love reminds us we can give our love away yet never run out. God’s generosity toward us reminds us we have enough to share with our neighbor.

Psalm 62: 5-12

In God alone be at rest, my soul;
for my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock, my stronghold,
my fortress: I stand firm.

In God is my safety and glory,
the rock of my strength.
Take refuge in God, all you people.
Trust him at all times.
Pour out your hearts before him
for God is our refuge.

Common folk are only a breath,
great men an illusion.
Placed in the scales, they rise;
they weigh less than a breath.

Do not put your trust in oppression
nor vain hopes on plunder.
Do not set your heart on riches
even when they increase.

For God has said only one thing:
only two do I know:
that to God alone belongs power
and to you, Lord, love;
and that you repay each man
according to his deeds.

Suzanne Elizabeth Anderson’s column “Walking our Faith” publishes Saturdays in the Summit Daily News. Anderson is the author of 10 novels and nonfiction books on faith. She has lived in Breckenridge since 2016. Contact her at suzanne@suzanneelizabeths.com.


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