Seeing the Small

I am that person on the airplane who plays with your toddlers. I have been known to sing, wave, make funny faces, and play endless games of peek-a-boo to entertain them while their parents are struggling and need just a moment to catch their breath. I recently sat next to a mom with a toddler on her lap and spent the entire trip playing with the little girl, who was fascinated with my rings and my mad itsy-bitsy spider skills. Her mom thanked me a thousand times when we deplaned, and I responded that I was once that thankful mom and I’m just paying it forward. Besides, I love small children.

A lot of people don’t notice the little ones. A lot of people don’t notice the little things. A lot of people don’t look beyond their own noses to see someone’s little struggles.

You know who does?


I have always loved the story of Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus the tax collector. Luke identifies him as a “short man” who was struggling to see Jesus in the crowd:

Luke 19 (Common English Bible)

19 Jesus entered Jericho and was passing through town. A man there named Zacchaeus, a ruler among tax collectors, was rich. He was trying to see who Jesus was, but, being a short man, he couldn’t because of the crowd. So he ran ahead and climbed up a sycamore tree so he could see Jesus, who was about to pass that way. 

We need to remember that tax collectors were the bottom run on society’s ladder. They were mistrusted and rightfully so; many were corrupt and stole from their takings, overtaxing the poor for their own benefit. Someone with this background must have really wanted to see Jesus to even just be in the crowd.

When Jesus came to that spot, he looked up and said, “Zacchaeus, come down at once. I must stay in your home today.” So Zacchaeus came down at once, happy to welcome Jesus.

This story reads so well! Jesus looked up. Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Jesus invited himself to lunch in Zacchaeus’ home. The crowd was appalled. The rabbi supping with the sinner?? It just wasn’t done!

But Zacchaeus was happy as he welcomed Jesus to his table. Isn’t this the way we should all feel? Even in the depth of our sinning, happiness comes when Jesus sees us and enters our lives with his saving grace.

Everyone who saw this grumbled, saying, “He has gone to be the guest of a sinner.”

Was there ever a time when the crowd didn’t grumble about Jesus?

The best part is Zacchaeus’ immediate reaction to the Savior. He knew what was required and his repentance was immediate, sincere, and appropriate. How about yours? Do you follow through with your repentance and not only turn away from your sin, but actively work hard to make reparation to those whom you’ve hurt?

Zacchaeus stopped and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my possessions to the poor. And if I have cheated anyone, I repay them four times as much.”

Jesus said to him, “Today, salvation has come to this household because he too is a son of Abraham. 10 The Human One came to seek and save the lost.

The snooty observers were disgusted, but Jesus stated his mission clearly. He came to seek and save the lost, not comfort the comfortable. As someone once said, the church isn’t a sanctuary for the saints, but a hospital for the sinners.

Salvation comes when we understand the difference.

Trees of Life by Alice Rogers

Bang Bang-Bang Bark

The roofers have finally arrived. Hurricane Dorian caused it to rain in my closet, and it should never rain in your closet. She took out a good portion of the roof, caused my flag pole to crash through part of my fence, and was a very unpleasant visitor indeed.

Now I have other unpleasant visitors. While I am grateful to know that the temporary tarps will be replaced by permanent shingles, roofers are hard to live with. Well, it’s not even just the roofers…it’s the dog barking at the roofers. The incessant bang bang-bang is accompanied by the dog barking her fool head off. I am living in a cacophony of distraction. And as the damaged shingles are flung off the roof to a tarp they just constructed right next to where I sit in my writing corner, I also get the pleasure of objects flying in my peripheral vision that make me duck. Oh, and did I mention that we now have to proceed with caution into the bathrooms, which all have windows…without shades.

Did you know there was a time in the Bible when God used noise to win a battle?

Judges 7

16-18 He divided the three hundred men into three companies. He gave each man a trumpet and an empty jar, with a torch in the jar. He said, “Watch me and do what I do. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly what I do. When I and those with me blow the trumpets, you also, all around the camp, blow your trumpets and shout, ‘For God and for Gideon!’”

19-22 Gideon and his hundred men got to the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just after the sentries had been posted. They blew the trumpets, at the same time smashing the jars they carried. All three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars. They held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands, ready to blow, and shouted, “A sword for God and for Gideon!” They were stationed all around the camp, each man at his post.

The whole Midianite camp jumped to its feet. They yelled and fled. When the three hundred blew the trumpets, God aimed each Midianite’s sword against his companion, all over the camp. They ran for their lives—to Beth Shittah, toward Zererah, to the border of Abel Meholah near Tabbath.

I just want you to know that if Russia attacks OBX tomorrow, my roofers and I will defeat them, one nail gun blast and dog bark at a time.

The Gideon passage is a great testament to what God can do with (1) small things, (2) unexpected things, and (3) non-traditional things. Jars and trumpets are not the usual weapons of war, yet they were. Three hundred men versus an army of thousands should not have won the day, yet they did. Noise shouldn’t conquer an enemy, yet it happened.

Ever feel small against insurmountable odds? Ever feel totally out of your league when faced with a conflict? Ever think your skill set was lacking, your voice was ineffective, and your resolve was too weak when faced with a battle?

Shout. Just shout. Raise the roof, make some noise, stand up for yourself, break your jar of insecurity and TAKE YOUR POSITION. God is with the righteous, and he goes before us. He reminds us that the battle is his, and he can use anything and everything to make the Enemy flee.

Are you ready? God is able. Lift up your torch and go.

Dorian-1, Flagpole-0