…and greater works than these shall ye do. John 14:12
Once there was a little girl who went grocery shopping with her mother. At the checkout, she impulsively thought she might help bag up some of the groceries. Seeing her enthusiastic efforts, an older gentleman working there as a bagger smiled at her and handed her a nickel telling her she had done a good job. Thirty plus years later, the grown woman would say that she had kept the coin in her small jewelry box until well after she had graduated from college. It was a reminder to her of how the smallest things make the greatest impact. That it really wasn’t about receiving the money. It was about having been recognized, seen, and acknowledged.
Now, I can imagine that the incident was quickly forgotten by the grocery store bagger. But to the little girl it was a gift for a lifetime. Oh my. So often when we think of helping or serving others, we may wonder what we have to offer. We may feel we have little in the way of abilities, time, money, resources. Yet, what if none of these things really mattered? In fact, what if our well-conceived concerns were actually getting in the way of our experiencing the Grace of true giving? Did the bagger in the grocery store need some special talent or extended amount of time? And, I do believe that all he needed in the way of money was a nickel. Can we imagine that all we may need is something as un-noteworthy as a nickel to impact another for a life time? We can when we remember, as the little girl would reflect years later, that the gift was really not about the nickel at all.
What if when Jesus said in John 14:12, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also, and greater works than these shall ye do, he was actually pointing us away from the standard notions of what we may imagine a great deed or miracle to look like and toward the realization that the true miracle may sometimes be just a small coin, given in gratitude and recognition, to a small pair of hands?
And, what if, all that was required of us to see the light of day in God’s holy night, to become such humble instruments of Grace, was to stand empty, silent and still, knowing that at any moment God beyond our understanding might breathe through us some unassuming deed for some unsuspecting heart…perhaps never for us to know the silent miracle left behind?
Do you have a nickel? In our Temple, there is a small prayer bowl filled with nickels. Take one or bring one from home and put it in your pocket. Pray it becomes a small reminder of your covenant with the Beloved, to stand ready to serve in ways you know not.
For, Graciously, then, without your even knowing, greater works shall ye do.
Blessings this holiday season and always.