The Smallest of Moments
There is a wonderful Loren Eiseley story that reads somewhat like this:
There was an old man who walked on the beach every morning. One day he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see.
Looking up, he noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often to bend down, pick up an object and throw it into the sea. As the boy came closer the man called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves. When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
As we struggle with our weaknesses during this Lenten season, we should never lose sight of the fact that even a small moment of grace is still a moment of grace. Or, as the proverb says, “Every little bit counts.”
If a person resolves to pray for ten minutes every day during Lent and finds herself on a particular day barely squeezing in 3 minutes, then God is delighted to have even that tiny portion of time with his beloved. The devil will try to convince us that, well, we blew it, this day or even this Lent. Better luck next year. That’s a lie and it’s one of his most effective.
John Howard Yoder commented, “After all is said and done, we have to serve what can be served and save what can be saved in what is probably a bad situation – the world as it is.”
A soul can be lost simply because he did not embrace and rejoice in the grace of even small moments of prayer or a tiny progress in the battle against sin. A nation can be lost because too many moral people stay home from the polls because neither candidate is perfect. A family can wither and die because, while they waited for the big job or the great success, they forgot to treasure the small moments.
Faith starts with mustard seeds and love grows in the tiniest of moments.