I have an old copy of the Littlest Angel downstairs in a plastic box that I tucked away when I moved out of my parents house when I was younger. I probably shouldn’t have it in all honesty. It was likely my Mom’s or perhaps it was my Dad’s. I should have left it with them but somehow I couldn’t part with it. Every Christmas I would dig it out. When I was little someone would read it to me and before long I was reading it to myself. It didn’t seem to matter how old I got, the message still applied. No matter what I was good enough. No matter what I just had to give what I had.
That said, I am human and I have doubts. In the unique mix of my family I never really felt like I had anything that stood out. I didn’t really feel like I had any quality that stood out. I can’t tell jokes. I don’t attract a lot of attention. I’m very disorganized. I’m pretty quiet. I guess you could say I play the back up and that’s ok. This book was inspiring for me then and it was great to rediscover today. I am reminded that God loves me no matter what and regardless of my lack of star quality, my family does too.
In ministry I wrestle with some of these same issues. I see friends I went to school with do amazing things. They’re unique, wonderful personalities and I’m so proud of what they’ve accomplished. I follow other pastors who are making the world a better place and I’m in awe of what they can accomplish. God uses people and he makes a difference. Lately I’ve been wondering how I make a difference. I stay home. I left the church. I don’t have a congregation. I am a traveling preacher who’s never in the same place for very long.
Then today I found this:
It used to be the centre of my parent’s tree topper. She was a beautiful angel with lights all around her. The topper was gold and it glowed. When I was little I loved to sit and stare at it late at night when the world was quiet and my eyes could barely stay open. She seemed magical. Now the angel is the only thing left to that topper. The lights are all dead. The elaborate display is gone. But still she remains. Simple. Old-fashioned. Cute. Like the littlest angel it seems like she doesn’t have much to give but on our tree, tucked in the corner she gives me a memory and I’ll treasure that always.
The angel may not serve the purpose she was originally made for. She’s no longer the centre of attention. She’s off to the side, but she’s perfect. I needed to find her today. For when I found her in my ornaments I was reminded of the story of the Littlest Angel and I remembered that it isn’t about what you give. It’s that you give what is close to your heart. So while I may no longer be leading. While I might be off to the side and living a quieter existence, I can still give. For while our purpose may change, our desire to serve does not. And somehow we find a new way. We find a different course. We find out where God wants to use us next.