I’m often reminded of how important the little things are in life. Of course, if you’ve read this blog with any regularity, you know that there are no such things as, “little things.” Scripture reaffirms the truth that how we handle the little things will be a reflection of the larger opportunities God gives us. Check out this parable Jesus used to teach this principle. Traci and I had a date night last week, and thanks to the work of a friend, we were able to enjoy dinner and a movie. Last December, at our local theater, we purchased the theater’s large, refillable, plastic popcorn tub so that we can enjoy movie theater popcorn (my favorite!) for just $4 for each refill. So after dinner, we took our bucket to the concession stand, bought a refill and a small Coke.
As we sat down in our theater and were watching previews, Traci suddenly asked, “Did you get a free popcorn refill tonight?” No, I wasn’t supposed to. At that point we both realized that while I had been chatting it up with the server, he had charged me for the Coke but not for the popcorn refill.
I hopped out of my seat, headed back to the counter and waited for the cashier to finish with another customer. He looked puzzled and asked if he could help with anything. I didn’t have my receipt (pitched it as I left the counter) but told him I was pretty sure he only charged me for a small Coke (which he agreed), but I reminded him that he refilled our popcorn tub. I owed him $4 and wanted to make sure I paid my popcorn debt.
It was funny. His jaw dropped open and he was speechless. Seriously, he was speechless over a $4 pay back. Keep in mind, it was $4 that I actually owed to him! He thanked me four or five times, and made the comment, “I’m not sure many people would have come back to pay for that.”
A couple days later I had lunch downtown, while doing some work on my phone. I was sitting outside, during a beautiful afternoon, enjoying my meal. All the other customers were eating inside.
When I finished, I grabbed my plate, my cup, my napkins (I’m a messy eater!) and the little sauce caddy my waitress had brought out, and carried it all inside. When I walked through the front door, the look on her face said it all. She gushed, -- I’m not joking, she gushed! -- “You didn’t have to do that! That’s so kind of you! No one brings their stuff in, honey, that’s my job. Oh my word, I can’t believe you did that. Thank you. Wow. Thank you!”
It was so simple: paying back $4 that was overlooked, and picking up after myself. Yet those two simple acts influenced the day of two people that I might not others wise have influenced.
I often wonder how many of those opportunities I miss when I let my day revolve around me, instead of around the opportunities God puts in front of me. I know how grateful I am when someone does that “little” act for me, so I know how much it can matter to others, too!
Who could you bless today by doing the simple things today? In fact, is there just one “little” act of kindness, love or grace you could offer today that might bless someone whether they know it was you who performed it? What conversations or friendship might God open up with a simple act of thoughtfulness? What would it take for you to ask God, each day, to use you to be a blessing to others? How might this question change your day-to-day interactions?
Go ahead and take the plunge, life is always better on the water.