Be sure to #8216;sweat the small stuff#8217;

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

I heard a story several years ago about a young father who had just settled into his easy chair after a long hard day at work. He had planned to enjoy a quiet evening when his 5-year-old daughter climbed up on his lap and asked him to please take her for a walk.

The father spied a “National Geographic” magazine opened to a beautiful large picture of the world globe.

He quickly removed the page from the magazine, tore the picture into six ragged pieces, shuffled the pieces and handed them to his daughter along with a roll of scotch tape.

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“Put this puzzle of the world globe together, and I’ll take you to the park,” he told her.

The father then settled back in his chair.

To the father’s absolute amazement, she was back in less than 15 minutes handing him a roughly taped together picture. When he saw that she had put the picture of the globe together correctly, has had to ask her a question.

“Did Mommy help you?”

“Nope,” she replied.

“How did you do this so fast?” he asked.

“Well,” the daughter said, “I don’t know what a globe is, but there was a big picture of a man on the other side of the page and when I got him together right, the world got right, too.”

That five-year-old philosopher revealed a theological truth that most of us can agree with: When and if this fractured and messed up world is “got right,” it will be when you and I get it “right.”

The Bible reveals that we cannot get it ‘right’ on our own; it is only through the acceptance of God’s grace, mercy and forgiveness that we become whole.

As redeemed Children of God, we are then commanded to love God with our whole hearts, minds and souls and to love one another.

In Matthew 25:31-46, the writer revealed that those who inherit the Kingdom of Heaven, will be those who have loved God and each other through simple acts of love.

At the final judgment, we will be divided into two groups, those who will inherit God’s world, and those who will not. “Small Stuff” determines each one’s fate: Just a cup of water, an article of clothing and a visit to a person in prison or one who is ill.

How can we make a difference?

If each of us would just reach out to one person who in turn reaches out to another, one by one the “least of these” will have their needs met and the world will begin to heal one small piece at a time.

It is important to point out that we do not earn our salvation through what we do, but by what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Our actions are the fruit that gives evidence of the condition of our hearts. We love, because God first loved us.

So in the end, it will come down to a simple truth: When we love God and one another the world of God’s kingdom comes on Earth one loving act at a time.

“Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, you that are blessed by my father, inherit the kingdom prepared from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.”

Jan Thornton is pastor of Waterloo United Methodist Church.