It’s not Just Peanuts
She got up from her woven bamboo chair when I approached her property, two toddlers in tow, and joined me on the ground. As I reclined on one of the rough beams supporting this woman’s thatch-roof shelter, I could only understand a phrase here and there that she spoke. The laughter in her eyes when I said a few words indicated the language barrier went both ways! We chatted, pointed, shrugged, and smiled while enjoying the breeze that easily flowed through, since her shelter had no walls. Her son eventually retrieved a bowl of freshly harvested peanuts from their home and placed it on the ground between us. As she shelled a handful and handed the nuts into my little ones’ eager, dimpled hands, I was so impressed by her hospitality.
With a tin bowl filled with the fruits of her labor, she had cheerfully blessed others. My friend didn’t fuss and worry that a bowl of peanuts wasn’t enough to offer. She didn’t fret that she didn’t have a second chair to bring out when she saw me coming – she just left hers and sat on the dirt next to me. Her genuine hospitality was underscored by her willingness to leave her comfort and share what she had.
I was challenged. How often do I hold back from offering kindness or hospitality because I think it won’t “be enough”? I know I’m not alone in this, because in my stateside travels I’ve had several conversations with amazing and wonderful people who have said things like, “But I’m not able to _____” “I’m afraid of _____” “I don’t know the Bible well enough to ____”. It seems our focus can easily become, not on what we have that God can use, but on what we feel is good enough to offer.
But imagine if everyone who has used these excuses instead imitated the heart of my “peanut friend”. What if we all realized that we DO have something to offer, even if it looks small in our eyes? Can you picture how the landscape of relationships could be brightened if we each realized that nothing is too small to be used?
I know what would happen! The world would have an explosion of Christianity in action. Rather than waiting for perfection, we would more easily find the joy in the gifts God has given. Even if it’s not fancy. Because hearts don’t need fancy; hearts need relationships.
I listened to a friend preach recently, and he said something profound, “The ability God is looking for is availability.” -D.Jaloweic
God can and will use anything we give Him. Nothing is too small to be used in His hands! Not even a humble bowl of freshly harvested peanuts.