Years ago, I heard a sermon entitled, "A Little Means a Lot." Other than the title, I can't remember what the preacher said, but the title was enough. Sometimes it's the little things that make the biggest difference. Last week, I preached to a small gathering of Cuban Christians living in the mountainous region in the east of the island. These folk were poor, had little access to any of the modern conveniences we consider essential. When you live on the margins, it's easy to believe that you don't matter, but that's not true.
The Scripture text for that sermon came from Luke 3:1-2. It's one of my favorite Scriptures, although at first glance, you might wonder why. After all, it is a catalogue of the high muckety-mucks of the first century; those people who occupied the seats of power, and at whose whim ordinary people groveled and scraped. It reads as follows:
"In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene—during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness."
If back then you were to have asked where things were happening and who was making it happen, people would have talked about Rome, Athens, Jerusalem, and perhaps a few other places. They would have rattled off the names listed in the text. But God wasn't impressed by those puny appropriations of power. The Word of God came to John...in the wilderness. You read it right - God bypasses places like Washington, Beijing, and Moscow, and comes to those inhabiting the backwater, redneck, outback, desert, and jungle places of the world.
This is why I don't consider my life wasted by having invested most of it in a little backwater village of about 700 people. God has come here, and continues to visit us. It's the little things that mean a lot, and that small congregation in the mountains of Cuba where God chose to show up, and continues to appear with a message of grace, forgiveness, and deliverance to ordinary people who are desperate for such a word. A little means a lot.
And tonight, after many months, all nine of our grandchildren are under our roof again. Alex is home from college, and after a campfire replete with hot dogs and s'mores, we went around the circle with our high-lows, and finally trudged up to the house where now Gemma and Izzi are snoozing at the foot of our bed while the others are sitting around the kitchen table playing a hot game of something or other. Earth-shattering? No. But a little means a lot, and as we gather like this month after month, life takes on a sense of dependability and stability, qualities much in demand, but short in supply these days. And as we build into them, their presence fills our hearts and nourishes our souls. Indeed, a little means a lot here in this small corner of the world.