by Bonnie P.
December brings with it creative ways to celebrate the season with personal memories and traditions. For about ﬁfteen years now, this month has been my time to reread a book by Francis Schaeffer called “No Little People.”
Be forewarned. You will not ﬁnd it on any recommended reading list for Advent or Christmas.
Nonetheless, at Christmas time Schaefferʼs reﬂections always impact my plans and goals for the new year. They help me recognize ruts where Iʼm stuck in my relationships and need to develop new patterns of relating to family, friends, and newcomers in my life.
The main things
“With God,” writes Schaeffer, “there are no little people, there are no little places.”
My take-away from this annual reading is this: we are either being what the Holy Spirit would have us be, or we are impeding His work in us.
This is sobering.
Where do I stand? Have I lost sight of the Main Things?
As I quiet my heart and listen to Him, I see three main hindrances I encounter in my desire to be an authentic Christian. In biblical Christianity, there is
- no selﬁsm
- no elitism
- no monasticism.
In the midst of my messy struggles to walk in the Spirit and overcome these hindrances, itʼs been a blessing to observe the practical ways women within our body at ECPC serve others in places which may look small to many.
“We all have egotistic pressures inside us,” Schaeffer writes. Yet despite this battle, hereʼs just a snapshot of what goes on in our community:
- Pat and Thea rocking babies
- Tammy and her daughter on the ﬂoor in toddler nursery
- Teresa and Nancy crouched on toddler chairs with 2ʼs and 3ʼs
- Elders and their wives leading worship in Childrenʼs Church
- Marj and Nancy organizing childrenʼs ministries
- Adie, Joyce, and Christa gifting us with tasteful decor
- Cameron, Judy, and Kim showing hospitality
- Sue and Kathy on kitchen duty, always with smiles on their faces
- Patty and Kitsie greeting us in the atrium
- Sylvia and Heather decorating bulletin boards
- Kathy and Lisa making coffee on Sunday mornings
- Trish and Sue with a handful of energetic little ones in childcare
- Alle and a host of other women teaching in KidConnect
- Lisa, Mara, Stacey, and others involved in Youth Ministry
- Rhoda reaching out behind the scenes
- and so many more!
“Quietness and peace before God,” Schaeffer states, “are more important than any inﬂuence a position may seem to give…”
The size of the place is not important, but the consecration in that place is important.
This week marks the anniversary of the loss of two of my very good friends to cancer. Both Jan and Cindy were authentic lovers of Jesus and of people. They cared deeply about people from all walks of life. They loved to write notes. Give gifts. Invite friends over for coffee. Make meals for needy families.
Undoubtedly you know this type of woman, too. Open heart. Open arms. Open home.
When queried about her hobbies, Jan would chuckle and retort, “People!” When invited to join my neighborhood art class, Cindy replied, “Iʼd love to come and be the groupʼs cheerleader–but donʼt expect me to draw or paint!”
Besides the gift of friendship, both of these dear friends left legacies in the form of devotional and Bible Study books–tangible evidence that their caring relationships with so many people were the overﬂow of their quiet times with God.
“Godʼs people are to be active,” Schaeffer goes on to say, “not seeking, on account of some mystical concept, to sit constantly in the shade of a rock.”
Beyond the doors of our sanctuary, our ECPC women also minister broadly.
- Debbie, ministering to wives of International Students at Georgia Tech
- Maryanne, a “good neighbor” in creative ways
- Alison, informing young girls through her Body, Beauty, Bravery project
- Liz and Anne, tireless volunteers at Summer Hillʼs inner city ministry
- Nancy, mentoring at East Cobb Christian School and befriending many outside our church doors
- Sam, Gretchen, Rebecca, Alexis, and so many other passionate missionaries
The heart of the matter
Technology has changed the way we connect with family, friends, books, and coworkers. It is so easy to lose our “connection” with uninterrupted real time, face to face time, with real people. As much as I enjoy my connection with Facebook friends and Pinterest followers, I don’t t want to lose touch with primary relationships.
I want to tune-in, wholeheartedly, to the needs and concerns of others. As always, the heart is the heart of the matter.
As our hands are busy with the loving chores and traditions of this season, may our hearts ﬁnd “quietness and peace” before God. Letʼs celebrate our calling in Christ and in His world.
Because there truly are no little people and no little places.
Bonnie is a wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandma, artist, art teacher, passionate reader, and more. She and her husband have been married 45 years and have been at ECPC for about 15 years. Her artwork is a personal response to the glory of God in creation, and her biblical foundation worldview is reflected in all that she creates. She has three married sons and seven grandchildren.