Thursday the “Mother’s Day Out” preschool where I was working shut it’s doors permanently. I hadn’t been there long, only 5 short weeks. I only started working there to make some extra money for our impending move.
So when they gathered the teachers this past Tuesday and told us they were shutting the program down, I’m not sure if I felt relieved or sad. I suppose it was a mix of the two. It had been a hard month of work, of learning the ropes, the politics and the kids. And just when I thought I had a knack for it? It was over with a few quick words from the director.
I couldn’t help wondering what the point of my short stint as a preschool teacher had been. Was I supposed to work there in the first place? Did I misread the plan?
Yet, this past week: God, with his wit and wisdom has been show me that longevity and notoriety has nothing at all with his ability to change lives. He needs faithful hands for both the short and long term.
In my mind my time at the preschool was nothing extraordinary. I’d simply gone to work, poured goldfish, changed diapers, read books and played blocks upon blocks.
But to God, I opened up a channel with which he could show love and grant grace. A usable connection to affirm his worth and establish his kingdom in a simple preschool playroom. And on our last day, several of my Mothers told me that I was a regular topic of dinner conversation, and a big part of why their kids wanted to come to school.
They’d noticed the change in their kids since I’d started and they were thankful to God that I showed up.
And now it was over, I said goodbye to those three year olds forever and watched their mothers walk them to the car. Their age and the brevity of our time together assured me that my work and presence in their lives would soon be forgotten.
Yet, as I always do, I was completely underestimating God’s ability to use the scraps of my faithfulness in the big picture of his overarching plan. I’m beginning to see that he can use the smallest acts of love and faithfulness to adjust the trajectory of a life forever.
And moreover I was believing in the lie that God is only working through the works of those who are receiving the highest accolades and notoriety, and since that wasn’t me I thought that my small faithfulness was unusable to him. I worried that the work of my hands was nothing more than adequate effort, forever passed over in favor of lovelier choices.
So often we believe that only the big dogs make a difference, but it’s utter BS. So what if you’re a small church, a little movement, an introverted youth worker or whatever your case may be? The enemy is thrilled when we believe that small is insufficient, because it leads to doubt and so often surrender.
But we have to remember that everything in the world, even the big things, are comprised of small faithfulness and discouraging turn outs. God uses the small works, the simple acts of showing up to bring about his purpose in the lives of his children. And when his kids feel his love and affirmation the ripple effect is unpredictable and revolutionary.
So if your numbers are done
Your job is gone
The time seemed too short
The outcome wasn’t what you hoped for
You wonder if this is your calling or if it’s time to give up…
Don’t think it was for naught, God uses the work of your hands for his beautiful glory, and what more can we hope for when it comes to the fruit of our time? God wants your faithfulness and sees it as every bit as lovely as that of the people your comparing yourself to.
Your small faithful is big lovely, lets stop forgetting the God into whose hands we commit the works of our days.