I’ve been reading Foster’s book, Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home. It had been well over a week since I was able to get back to the book, and I resumed listening to it on audio as I was doing laundry after returning from the event last weekend (you know you like a book when you immediately want to read again what you just read while at the same time you want to keep reading to see what truth the author will creatively show you next! It almost seems a disservice to keep reading because you need to digest the portion you just read. Foster's book for me is one of those kind of books! I'm determined to read it slowly).
I want to share a passage that jumped out at me on the subject of being ready to serve God in the little things as Foster spoke of a very simple woman name Thérèse of Lisieux. She helped many by her prayer-filled approach to a humble life of growing in Christlikeness through what she called the “Little Way.”:
“...This Little Way, as she called it, is deceptively simple. It is, in short, to seek out the menial job, to welcome unjust criticisms, to befriend those who annoy us, to help those who are ungrateful. For her part, Thérèse was convinced that these “trifles” pleased Jesus more than the great deeds of recognized holiness. The beauty of the Little Way is how utterly available it is to everyone. From the child to the adult, from the sophisticated to the simple, from the most powerful to the least influential, all can undertake this ministry of small things. The Opportunities to live in this way comes to us constantly while the great fidelities happen only now and again. Almost daily we can give smiling service to nagging co-workers, listen attentively to silly bores, express little kindnesses without making a fuss.
We may think these tine, trivial activities are hardly worth mentioning. That, of course, is precisely their value. They are unrecognized conquests of selfishness, We will never receive a medal or even a ‘thank you’ for these invisible victories in ordinary life---which is exactly what we want.
An incident from Thérèse’s autobiography, The Story of a Soul, underscores the suddenness of the Little Way. One uneducated and rather conceited sister had managed to irritate Thérèse in everything she did. Rather than avoid this person, however, she took the Little Way straight into the conflict: ‘I set myself to treat her as if I loved her best of all.’ Thérèse succeeded so well in her Little Way that following her death this same sister declared, ‘During her life, I made her really happy.’ ”
-Prayer: Finding the Heart’s True Home, pgs. 62-63.
If you, like me were a bit confused who “her” is referring to in the last sentence in the paragraph above, "her" is referring to Thérèse. I had to read it several times to realize that the woman who annoyed Thérèse so very terribly—felt so loved by her—that upon Thérèse's death the woman could make the claim that she had made Thérèse very happy! Thérèse would have been delighted, no doubt! What a challenge to us to resolve by God's grace to demonstrate love to those who annoy us!
Lord God, help the reader and me who You are calling to be ready to humble ourselves under Your direction, to take the low road, and to serve You by doing the mundane task. Help us to do the little thing You want us to do: to seek out the menial job, to welcome unjust criticisms, to befriend those who annoy us, to help those who are ungrateful. It is in Your power and strength that our confidence rests. Amen.
What little thing is God calling you to do that is right before you that cuts against your preferences? Will you serve Him in the little thing you know He wants you to do?
Walk by Faith,