At year’s end newspapers and magazines often publish top ten lists containing what they deem the most significant happenings of the past twelve months. They serve as reminders of what we have just navigated and also reflections of what that author, if not our culture, values. This year’s compilations included the typical earth-shattering events:
• Barack Obama, a gifted young man, is elected President.
• Paul Newman, a gifted old man, passes away.
• Wall Street, seemingly the lifeblood of our economy, flounders.
• Mike Shanahan, coach of the Denver Broncos, is fired.
What if God published such a list? Would it reflect the same priorities? Or would it recognize events we don’t? What if God’s list looked more like this?
• Dennis, a very important and busy businessman, does nothing.
• Brett shares the remote control helicopter he received for Christmas with his younger sister.
• Gladys, an elderly woman living on a small pension, puts $1 in the Salvation Army kettle.
• Mary looses her job, and only source of income, and is not fearful.
• Kevin accepts God’s view of him.
• The Smiths grieve the loss of their mother and sit together in loving silence.
• Cheryl turns to the person behind her in line and smiles.
• Jared asks God to be his friend.
• Abdul prays for the peace of Christ in his war-torn country.
• Robert James is born and breathes his first breath.
• Tony and Marie forgive one another and remain married.
• Daryl reads a good novel.
• Rhonda and Clay kiss.
• George faces the end of his long life with open eyes and heart.
• Cassie offers a neighbor a cool drink of water and some shade.
• Christmas arrives again.
I wonder. Or, because of my blurred, earth-bound perspective, have I missed too? Now we see through a glass darkly, Scripture says. Jesus never seemed to focus on the “big story” of the Roman world but rather on the “little things” in the people around him. The first shall be last and the last first, he said.
Still, I occasionally find myself dreaming of doing something that would land me on one of those earthly top ten lists, “Time Magazine’s Man of the Year.” There are those days, though, where simply getting out of bed and facing another day feels astronomically monumental. And other days when my plans and actions of reaching for the moon go unnoticed. Those are the times it’s heartening that God seems to notice the ordinary with the same eyes he sees the extraordinary. Faith pleases God, we’re told. Reality is I spend most of my days with only a mustard seed of faith in my pocket. Too often I can’t even find that among the lint. But maybe, just maybe that’s enough to make God’s list.