As may be obvious by now, all of the ministers and several staff members take turns blogging for the church website under the heading, “Pastor’s Blog.” There is no set rotation; we simply volunteer at staff meetings, sometimes because we have a specific purpose we think the blog might help meet, sometimes because we haven’t blogged in a while. This time I fall into the latter category.
Usually when it is my turn compose a post, I turn a couple of ideas over in my head for a few days and eventually land upon something that strikes a chord with me, hopeful that my rumination will resonate with others as well. But this time nothing seemed to stick.
And so I was procrastinating and browsing the internet when I came across an article from the Huffington Post entitled, “5 Things That Are Blocking Your Creativity (And What You Can Do About It).” As I scanned the article for the five things, I realized that while it is perhaps a combination of those things that were keeping me from making this blog entry happen, number two is what struck a chord: “You’re thinking too big.”
As I read their explanation of what they meant by thinking too big, I quickly realized I interpreted their statement a bit differently. It wasn’t that I was too focused on the big picture, it was that I was trying to make my writing do too much. I wanted it to make an impact, to make a difference, to get people thinking about the intersection of their faith and their daily lives and be motivated to act differently. None of these are bad goals or even necessarily unattainable ones, but it was putting way too much pressure on a 500 word post. I felt like I needed to hit a home run when all I really needed to do was put the ball in play.
There is a line in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit that makes this point quite well. Gandalf has been asked why he included Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, in the adventure to take back the dwarves homeland from the powerful dragon Smaug. Hobbits, as you may know, are small creatures, fond of an unadventurous, bucolic, and simple life of farming, eating, and socializing. They seem an unlikely ally for the warrior-like dwarves in defeating such a fierce enemy as a dragon.
[Gandalf:] “I don’t know. Saruman believes that it is only great power that can hold evil in check. But that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small things, everyday deeds of ordinary folk, that keeps the darkness at bay. Simple acts of kindness and love. Why Bilbo Baggins? Perhaps it is because I am afraid, and he gives me courage.”
Jesus spoke to the multitudes from a hilltop, but he also spoke to one woman at a well, one man in a tree. Jesus spoke to the storm and calmed the waves, but he also spoke to Mary in the garden and calmed her heart.
Don’t discount the small things, the simple acts of kindness and love available to us everyday. For in them we find the kingdom of heaven.