I was recently emailing back and forth with an advisor at a university. For a required course, they listed either “Discipleship/Mentoring” or “Theology of Compassion.” I emailed the person back and said, “I have been in ministry for 25 years, is there any kind of credit for life experience?” She responded back, “Of course, just provide us with a detailed resume and we’ll evaluate if it’s enough to earn credit.”
I immediately took out a piece of paper and started listing ministry/life experience. But the more I wrote the more I evaluated, and the more I evaluated the more inadequate I felt.
My discipling and mentoring resume doesn’t include writing a discipleship program for new believers or successfully teaching a large group of disciples who then go into all the world. My mentoring program hasn’t been organizing or in-acting a written and proven study of leadership and development.
My discipling and mentoring looks more like:
- coffee, tears and Kleenex with a mama struggling to keep her life and home intact.
- looking over a budget with a single mom and helping her see how things could work.
- working through a book study with women and modeling for them how to teach other women at their small group table time
- praying with a fellow ministry wife as she struggles to learn the ropes of ministry life.
- teaching kids the books of the Bible and how to understand God’s Word.
My Theology of Compassion resume consists of:
- organizing meals for a family dealing with sickness
- house cleaning for a person recovering from surgery
- sorting and cleaning out a home after a loved one passed away
- helping preschoolers know how to be a good friend.
What is this measly list lined up against feeding children in poverty-stricken countries or rescuing women from sex-trafficking? How does my simple day-to-day living out of my imperfect faith measure up to coming up with a whole discipleship program for teaching new believers? My mentoring program isn’t helping addicts recover from addiction, it’s just walking with others through this journey called life.
As I looked over my list, my own thoughts whispered, “This is not enough. They will evaluate this resume and I will come up lacking.” My listing of life discipleship and compassion theology will be small in the eyes of the academic world.
My life is small. My ministry is small. Yet neither is insignificant.
It may be minuscule in comparison to others but it doesn’t make it unimportant.
Walks and talks with a young wife struggling in her marriage is not insignificant to her. Those times together changed the trajectory of her life, her marriage and the lives of their children.
I haven’t fed the masses through an organized food program; but a meal brought to a family dealing with a child recovering from surgery made a difference to them.
At first, my list felt discouraging. But as I remembered the faces and lives behind those small acts of mentorship and compassion I was reminded that small does not mean insignificant.
I don’t write these things so others will write me back and say, “Rachel, you matter!” I know I matter. I know my life matters. And you may know that about yourself as well. Yet in looking at other people’s lives and comparing, we can sometimes get lost in thinking the way to make a difference is the big stage. We can believe real life-changing difference is found in the number of likes, followers and shares. But that’s just not true.
We may live a small life with few taking notice of our accomplishments or acts of compassion. But a small life lived through love makes a magnified difference.
Our life accomplishment list may be short but it holds great importance.
Our voice may be small and not carry far but what we say still matters.
Friends, your life is significant. What you do for others when no one else sees — matters. You are making a difference – right where you are and in the life that you live.
Love the life you live!
Have an amazing week!
You are loved,