It Doesn’t Always Have to be Big

Do you sometimes feel like what you do doesn’t matter? That the little bit you have to give is nothing compared to what someone else can? Yeah, me too.

Years ago, when I had just begun as a hospice volunteer, I would spend Wednesday mornings at the facility. My favorite thing to do was to go into someone’s room who didn’t have family with them and listen to them talk. They had great stories that fascinated me.

One day, literally one of my first few weeks there, the nurses asked me to sit with this woman and hold her hand. All through the night before, she had woken up screaming every fifteen minutes. EVERY fifteen minutes. The nurses on that shift would have to go in and calm her down every time as well as take care of the rest of the patients. It wore them out!

When I came in, I guess I was the perfect person to keep her company. I sat there all morning holding her hand. She would wake up every fifteen minutes and look over at me and go back to sleep. Even in sleep, she had a tight grip on my hand.

The whole time I was there, I felt bad for this poor woman. She was alone and dying. She was afraid of being alone and maybe of dying. Even just having a stranger holding her hand was enough to ease her fear and keep her calm. I can’t imagine feeling so afraid and so lonely. While she was asleep, I tried to keep praying for her because I felt like that was all I could do.

When I was leaving at lunch time, the nurses were so appreciative. At the time, I felt like I was useless. Anyone could have done what I did. Literally any person could sit with that woman and hold her hand. But I was the one who was there. Sometimes, God just needs us to show up and do what is in front of us. It may not feel valuable or big. It may just be something anyone could do. But God chose me that morning.

I may have felt useless that day, but over time God began to show me that my actions mattered. My presence allowed the nurses to work with the other patients without being interrupted four times an hour. With me there, they didn’t have to constantly run in the room and soothe an agitated woman. And I think most of all, my smile comforted this woman and kept her peaceful. She wasn’t alone.

What you are doing today or are about to start may feel small and unnecessary. Don’t let that feeling stop you from doing it. It may seem like no one will care about it. Someone will definitely see you, and God will see you being faithful. That is enough.

Linking with Holley Gerth


8 thoughts on “It Doesn’t Always Have to be Big

  1. Sarah,
    What a powerful example of bringing our little offering and giving it to others! It’s true that we overlook what good we can do right in front of us because it might not feel big enough, but God can multiply whatever we offer and use it in big and mighty ways! xo

  2. I love this, Sarah. It’s so easy to think that what we do doesn’t matter, especially when we compare it to people who are doing all the “really important things.” But usefulness is in the eye of the beholder, I think, and when God is the one doing the beholding, the littlest things are often the most significant. Do you still serve as a hospice volunteer? What a wonderful ministry!

    1. Comparison really does steal our joy. We know it and still fall into it, don’t we? I don’t do hospice anymore. Once I started working, I had to quit. I learned a lot though!

  3. Yes, I usually feel like I come up short. I don’t do the BIG things. What you did I consider BIG. What a wonderful gift you gave to that woman. You were the hands of Jesus. I know the nurses and that woman felt it was big. Isn’t it strange how we are always comparing ourselves and measuring big/small from our perspective which evidently is skewed from our vantage point?

    Thank you for this reminder I am struggling this morning with not feeling like I am doing enough for those around me that are hurting.

    1. Helping those we know are hurting can feel overwhelming. Nothing feels like enough. Just being there is what they need, but we want to be big and splashy. Just keep loving them!

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