There was a moment the world seemed to feel bigger and smaller at the same time. Bigger, in that we seemed to be on our own, our great big country with its big ideas and advancements enjoying the American dream. Smaller, in that we didn’t have immediate access to the rest of the world.
Technology changed that. Reporters appear on screen live from Russia offering commentary on our recent election. Sporting events are telecast in real time from all parts of the world. Social media allows me to see instant posts from friends in Peru and Malawi. Our world has shrunk. At times it feels crowded and we wonder how anyone will notice the difference we hope to make.
We were walking the beach at Marco Island. The sand stretches out far and is packed down as we walk with flip-flops protecting tender toes from the millions of shells. We spotted a dolphin slicing through the waters without a ripple. We saw a huge flock of terns ? performing flight maneuvers. And then we saw this large sprawling branch with shells hanging on it. We paused in our walk to take a closer look. A woman approached us and told us to take a marker and write something. There were other shells on the sand with holes in the top so we could hang them on a branch.
My sister-in-law was writing her word on the shell while I examined the others. An older couple came over to see what was going on. We’re just writing words to lift spirits, we told them. We didn’t know why others wrote on the shells. Some were names of people others were symbols like XO.
It was so simple; this tumbled piece broken from something larger fashioned to hold sun-washed shells with words that made us smile. A small thing that could bring about a moment of peace, a smile, prayer. A little thing meant to bring joy.
News reporters weren’t there to cover this. It’s not a video that will go viral. The woman didn’t have a banner for a cause and she wasn’t asking for donations. We didn’t have to sign up or leave an email address or zip code. She was doing a small thing in a few square feet of a vast beach. She wasn’t discouraged by her smallness. She did one small thing with great purpose.
It’s a simple story, but most of us live simple lives. And we can do simple things, with great purpose, to share the message of hope.
Is there a small thing that is bringing you great joy?
Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over, as you serve the Lord. 12 Do not forget to rejoice, for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming, and devote yourselves to prayer. 13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others. Romans 12:11-13 the Voice