Monday, 18 June 2012

The small things, the 'One Thousand Gifts'...

“Don’t despise the small things… don’t ignore them, celebrate them and watch them grow.” – A man on Sunday evening at the evening praise and worship service.

I didn’t completely understand what he was saying, I still don’t. 

I have been reading this book by Ann Voskamp, it is called ‘One Thousand Gifts’.  She describes it as, ‘A dare to live fully right where you are’.  This challenged me, I have all these amazing dreams, and plans, ideas and thoughts, to travel to the far corners of the earth, to talk to people about God in my neighbourhood, and in my world, to do something about the disaster that is poverty, to set the oppressed free, to bring freedom to those who have never seen it.  Often I feel like, until I have done these things I will not have lived fully.

I have not read the whole book yet, but each word changes me, each word makes my stomach turn with the wonder of it, each word shows me a life that can be grasped wholly now, right where I am, as who I am, in the place I am in.

In essence the book is Ann’s story of how she learnt to live fully.  The journey God has taken, and is taking her on.  It teaches this idea of a life full of eucharisteo.

"Charis. Grace.
Eucharisteo. Thanksgiving.
Chara. Joy. ... Grace, thanksgiving, joy. Eucharisteo.
A Greek word...that might make meaning of everything?" –One Thousand Gifts ~ Ann Voskamp

A life full of thanksgiving, finding gifts in each and every thing, in the small things of life.  The things that if you weren’t looking, you wouldn’t notice.   A friend dared Ann to write a list of one thousand gifts, the list taught her something that I cannot explain in the way she does.  Read the book, I know it will change your life, it has changed mine.

I’ve started my list.  It’s over there, on the side of my blog, it grows.  It grows not quickly, but at the pace at which I fill it.  Sometimes I find it hard to put something on, sometimes it is easy, but I try to add to it when I can.  As I look for them, I notice more of the small things.  Things that before, I would have missed.  This life of thanksgiving I am entering in for, is not always easy, it is not what has saved me, but it is what will allow me a greater relationship with the One who saved me.  As we follow Jesus’ example, it is seen that miracles are preceded by giving thanks, at the feeding of more than 5,000, Jesus took the loaves and the fish, and “he gave thanks” before he “broke the loaves” and  “then he gave them to the disciples” (Matthew 14:18).  I have often missed just how much Jesus gives thanks.  Jesus lived a life of thanksgiving, or eucharisteo, He still does.

The man on Sunday reminded me, some small things are hard to contend with, they wind me up, they hurt me, they bug me.  But they are to be celebrated; they are to thank God for.  As God uses Ann Voskamp’s book to show me the small things, I need to celebrate them, so that I can watch them grow.  I can watch them grow from small things to big things.  Things that will be indescribably amazing.