No Small People

Rachel BurtonGuest Post by Rachel Burton  (Below in blue ink)

There are no small people which means, ultimately, there are no small acts of kindness. Because every person matters, every act of kindness, mercy, and love can, under the power and direction of the Spirit of God have a powerful impact in another person’s life. In my last church, a young single girl with a love of people and a facility with language wanted to become a missionary. At least for the moment, that dream was dashed. This is her story told by her. I asked her if I could pass it on to you and she said yes. I think you will be encouraged.

I think she is an excellent writer, a keen observer of life, and a wonderful instrument in the hands of God. Below is her “Day in the Life” story of being available to God. Rachel’s FaceBook post was untitled and so I have left it that way below.

I’ve always had a save-the-world complex, where I wanted to do something huge for humanity and God’s Kingdom, wanted to make an enormous lasting difference, save hundreds of souls, leave the world a kinder place. Maybe that was my perfectionism talking or maybe just a soft pudgy heart. When I gave up my dream of being a missionary, I was crushed beyond imagination – what could be a nobler task than that? How could God be pleased with me leaving a life dedicated to ministry so I could do something far less selfless like be a flight attendant? People have dedicated their whole lives to preaching, teaching, evangelizing – I fly around the world and make sure people’s bags are tucked underneath the seat for takeoff. Not sure how many souls that’s saved, but probably zero.

And yet I have found that, though some are certainly called to be Pauls and Peters, Billy Grahams and Mother Teresas, doing great famous things to change the world, I have always seen Him working most in MY life in the smallest, most ordinary coincidences. He tends to send people into my life for mere minutes and then they’re gone, but not without an opportunity for me to let Him work. Today, on the third day of a busy four-day trip (shorter layovers the first two days, plus a fun incident with a cockroach taking a ride with us to Mexico), I finally had a nice long layover in Salt Lake City, but with long flights and little rest, I just felt like hanging out in the hotel room. I ordered Indian food on UberEats, which cancelled my order on me, so I switched and did Mexican, then went outside to wait for my order. Just as my driver pulled up, a woman ran up to me and asked, “Could I please ask you to call my husband and tell him I’m waiting at this bus stop? My phone is out of minutes, someone stole my debit card, I have no money. I don’t know what to do. I’m desperate.” Balancing my burrito and horchata in my hand, I dialed for her, then after she relayed the message (to which I overheard her husband ask, “How in the world did you call me from an Alaska number?!”), she started to tell me her story. My only God-given task, the simplest thing in the world, was just to listen to her.

Her mother had just died and her siblings had ransacked her possessions and run off with them. Her husband had been picking up her ashes. The woman had just been evicted from their apartment, couldn’t work because of an injury, her nineteen-year-old daughter just had a baby and she couldn’t even help support her. It was a sad story. She had a really, really hard month. She repeated over and over, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to spill all this on you, you should just go enjoy your food” but I was given the opportunity to listen, so I did. She finished, I gave her a hug and told her I’d be praying for her, asked if she needed anything. She said just the prayers, then she looked at my shirt and burst out laughing until tears ran down her face. I glanced down and realized I was wearing my favorite T-shirt that my roommate gave me – it’s got a picture of a stick of butter on it with the words “It Gets Butter” written across it.

“I hope your day gets a little ‘butter’ soon,” I smiled.

“It already has,” she told me.

Maybe I was never meant to do anything great like save the world, as much as I want to. Maybe it’s honestly enough to be the person that God tires out and cancels Indian food orders on so I can be in the exact right place at the exact right time to remind a desperate person for just a few minutes that they’re loved and worth respecting. Maybe that’s just as important and needed in His work. I’m starting to be okay with that.

Bloom where you are planted for the glory of God.

One thought on “No Small People

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