Serving in Small Ways

This is a translation of a scriptural meditation from the Russian book, “Day by Day”:

Scripture: “So Abram went to live near the great trees of Mamre at Hebron, where he pitched his tents. There he built an altar to the Lord” (Gen: 13, 18)


"This altar built by Abram in that place has a special meaning. He already went through the entire holy land and when, reaching Hebron, he could rest beneath the shade of palm trees, perhaps he felt a premonition of eternal peace, and in a burst of gratitude he sang a song of praise to heaven.

"Have we not also felt something similar? When, after a desperate struggle against our evil inclinations, we finally are able to give in and fulfill the will of God, don’t we feel closer to God, and doesn’t He come closer to us? Do we not feel then at least a small reflection of eternal bliss?

"Perhaps we would have liked to live in the time of the prophets and experience, like they did, being visibly touched by God. We would have liked, with Saul, to travel the road to Damascus, we would have liked to see with our own eyes the miracles witnessed by the apostles. We yearn to achieve in our lives the greatness and the glory which surrounded the Old Testament Patriarchs, but the Lord calls us to be faithful in small things – in the endless trivia of daily life which passes unnoticeably in people’s eyes. This is our calling,

"Life teaches us to deny our own will; it shatters our pride and subdues our conceit. The Lord calls us to the great feat of patience, to sympathy for others, to selfless care for others – and all this sometimes seems to us to be not worthwhile. But we cannot justify neglecting this sacred duty. When we finally understand that God’s will must be sacred for us in everything, and that nothing must be beneath us, then every simple, unnoticeable thing, whatever seems insignificant to us, all this we must fulfill with equal zeal for the glory of God.

“The truth of the Gospel is so clear in its simplicity, and we must accept it with equal simplicity, like a small child. ‘Unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven’ (Matt: 18, 3)”.

This meditation again brings to mind what Lewis writes in his essay, “Learning in Wartime” (from the collection, “Weight of Glory”):

“The work of a Beethoven and the work of a charwoman become spiritual on precisely the same condition, that of being offered to God, of being humbly done ‘as to the Lord’. This does not, of course, mean that it is for everyone a mere toss-up whether he should sweep rooms or compose symphonies. A mole must dig to the glory of God and a cock must crow. We are members of one body, but differentiated members, each with his own vocation. A man’s upbringing, his talents, his circumstances, are usually a tolerable index of his vocation.”


“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. Love will last forever.” (1 Corinthians 13: 4-8)