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Faith: Small things

The joys of living small.

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Photo illustration, Shutterstock, Inc.

I walked to The Warehouse a few nights ago after dark. A student couldn’t find his Chromebook and thought he might have left it at The Warehouse.

On my way to open the building, a lady pulled up in a minivan, rolled down her window, and said, “Hey, Pastor! Do you know someone who lost their dog today?”

I recognized her, but I don’t really know her. She had a van full of children and a chocolate Lab that they had found that evening. The dog had a collar with rabies tags but no contact information. I told her I’d help if I could. I made a few phone calls as I opened The Warehouse for the student. The Chromebook was found!

A few hours and social media posts later, we figured out who the dog’s owner is. By the end of the night, the dog was back home safe and sound. An exciting evening in Pine River.

Call me hokey, but I like living in a small town. I’ve lived in cities before. It’s easy to hide in a city. It’s easy to be anonymous, but in a small town people recognize each other. They will get to know you whether you want them to or not.

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Pine River is small. It’s not important or significant like Minneapolis or New York City, but it’s also a place where lost dogs and lost computers can be easily found. It’s a place where you can actually get to know your neighbors. It’s small, but I like small things.

When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart. ... And love your neighbor as yourself.”

Notice the second part of Jesus’s answer. Jesus didn’t say, “Love humanity as you love yourself.” He simply said, “Love your neighbor.”

I think this is intentional because none of us is big enough to love all of humanity. We may think that we love “everyone,” but we really don’t because in order to love a person we must first get to know them. I can only truly love those people whom I take the time to know.

We’re too small to love all of humanity, but the question for us is this: Are we actively knowing and loving real human beings in our lives and in our communities?

Jesus doesn’t call us to save the whole world. He calls us to faithfully love those few people He brings into our lives. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

I’m grateful for small places and small things this Thanksgiving. The older I get, the less impressed I am with the grandiose. Bigger isn’t always better.

What I really long for is to know and be known by a few people, to love and be loved by those God has brought into my life. That’s enough for me.

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May God bless each of us with a few people to know and love this holiday season.

Tristan Borland is pastor at Riverview Church in Pine River.

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