Many of you know that I am a great lover of stories, whether those stories come from people, movies, books, radio, etc, specifically fiction stories. Fiction is a way for me to connect with the world; I am able to see how specific truths and ideas play out, or perhaps a scene uses symbolism that helps me understand my own life. God speaks to me this way quite frequently.
With what is going on in the world, it is easy to get overburdened. Overburdened by things happening in the world, our country, our city, even what is happening with us personally or internally. There is great darkness in the world, and the enemy uses many different tactics to try to hinder the Kingdom of God. It’s easy to become so weighed down with these burdens that we freeze up. What can we even do? Where do we even begin? How can I even make a difference? What now?
In the story The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien, there is a forest called the Greenwood. You quickly learn that there is a “sickness” that has taken the forest. A dark presence has overshadowed it so much that people in the story have started calling the forest Mirkwood. There is great darkness, there is pestilence, there is danger, fear, and anxiety. While talking about what can be done, one of the main characters says,
“[Some believe] it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay…small acts of kindness and love.”
God placed this on my heart this week. He then brought to light Matthew 25: 34-40:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
So, what can we do when we are ordered to stay at home? Small acts of kindness and love. People think to be a great believer you need to do large, flashy, noticeable, and miraculous things, but I disagree. We need to be faithful, obedient, and genuine in the small things. Our God is a God for ordinary people who live ordinary lives. Let us be faithful and obedient in the ordinary.
In the parable above, Jesus commends those who give people food when they are hungry, drink when they are thirsty, inviting people into our lives when they are lonely, and visiting people in their distresses. Ordinary things. Ordinary kindnesses. All of them from a heart that loves God. A heart that does these things as worship to our Creator, for he has shown us the same kindnesses. “Let us love, because he first loved us.” -I John 4:19.
Again, what can we do right now? We love those God has placed around us. Our neighbors, our families, our friends, our communities. I know we are limited, but we need to make use of what we have. Call, text, check in, email, write…be a community. Be with each other and for each other, even when we cannot physically be present. With those in your own house, grow stronger together. Do small things to grow together as family, as friends, as neighbors, even when it is hard. Small acts of kindness and love that are centered around the worship of our Creator, that is what will defeat the darkness. The darkness that fights the world, the darkness that fights relationships, and the darkness that fights ourselves.
I love you all, and am thankful for you everyday! Let us keep connected through these strange times.