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Small Beginnings, Big Outcomes


One day when I was around nine or ten years old, I was walking to the corner convenience store to buy a Popsicle to cool me off on a summer day. On the way, I noticed a bunch of buttons lying in the street. Hmm! I walked on by, but when they were still there the next Popsicle day, I decided to get a bag, take them home, and foster them. Why not? A little serendipitous treasure!
 
I got the buttons home and inspected them. They numbered around 50 and were quite interesting. The buttons had patterns on them: some green gingham check, some floral pattern, some raised butterfly, anchor, or beetle patterns. The buttons were small—-only about one-half inch diameter.
 
Those buttons sat in my button box for decades, like old friends-in-waiting. One day, I got creative and decided to use some of the floral buttons to decorate a plain yellow shirt I had purchased. I sewed the buttons on the bodice and sleeves. I now call this shirt my “blessings blouse” because those little buttons remind me of the plentiful, surprising, small blessings from the Lord that I have experienced in my lifetime—-like fancy buttons in the road.
 
And my gratitude grows the more I am moved to prayers and reflection. I recall other small things that lead to big and wonderful surprises. Look at Micah 5:2:
 

But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah, who are one of the little clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to rule in Israel, whose origin is
from of old, from ancient days.

 
Or how about the conversion of Zacchaeus, who was a man of diminutive stature? He climbed a tree to see Jesus and grew, himself, from a sinful tax collector to a generous, repentant helper of the poor. (Luke 19:1-10).
 
Although we can find many examples in the Bible of big outcomes from small beginnings, in this season of tending gardens and watching vegetation grow, I point out two more which, I am sure, are timely familiar.
 

He put before them another parable: ”The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard
seed that someone took and sewed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds,
but when it has grown, it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that
the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32.)

 
Jesus tells us in Matthew 17:20b
 

“…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain
‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”

 
Finally, consider what Jesus did with just five barley loaves and two fish….a very small food supply for lunch for five thousand listeners! (John 6:1-14). Jesus fed all the people, and there were leftovers! What an example for us! I know we cannot work miracles like that, but sometimes our small gestures of kindness, our brief, fervent prayers, or our little gentle words of encouragement can feed the needs of others in our lives in big ways that are truly satisfying.
 
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.
 
The scripture passages are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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