The Simple Things

My friend, Reiko Wright, and I met last year at She Speaks, a Christian women’s speaker/writer/leader’s conference.  We instantly connected as we sat by one another at each of the meals at the conference.  As God would have it, I shared a room with Reiko this January at the She Speaks Intensive.  Our time together was a true gift, and our conversations rich and filled with truth.  Enjoy Reiko, as she so sweetly shares her heart and love for Jesus.

music

I listened to a women’s teacher lead a Bible study this past week and she mentioned keeping her hymnal nearby when she spent time alone with God. Since I did not grow up in the church and since I haven’t gone to an “old school” church with hymns before, it never occurred to me to use hymns as a devotional or prayer aid. I love hearing ways other people engage God and often try them myself so I downloaded an album onto my phone and listened one morning while getting dressed at the gym. The simple lyrics moved me to near tears as the sweetness of all God has done for me washed over me through the words. Upon returning home, I looked up the words and read them again along with the testimony of the writer.

As a writer, stories are the air I breathe. In fact, when I get to heaven, I’ve already asked God if I can record the testimonies of grace. Hymns are rich with testimony. Many of them were written at or in response to turning points in the artist’s life. This particular hymn is called “Just as I am, Without One Plea,” and was written in 1835 by a woman named Charlotte Elliott. As I read the brief narrative, a statement made by her brother, a full-time minister, struck a chord. About his sister’s hymn, Mr. Elliott said:

“In the course of a long ministry, I hope I have been permitted to see some of the fruit of my labor, but I feel that far more has been done by a single hymn of my sister’s.”

To understand what makes these words so powerful one must consider the context. Ms. Elliott lived in Victorian England where women had no legal rights, financial security, or social standing apart from their fathers or husbands. Ms. Elliott’s impact on the faith of others was not limited by her lack of power, position or prestige. I doubt she had any inkling of how God would be glorified. She simply expressed her faith through the words of this hymn and almost two-hundred years later, the ripples impact my faith.

So much of life is made up of simple things. Very little is deep. When it comes to a faith filled life however, the simple things can have a profound impact. For example, as a wife, mom, homeschool teacher, writer and speaker, most of my day is dedicated to simple things: laundry, correcting papers, reading, studying, groceries, etc. Deep things happen occasionally, but more as the exception rather than the rule. Somehow, the deep things are the experiences which seem to matter the most.

I read this verse the other day and it opened my eyes to the significance of simple things.

So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31

What could be simpler than eating or drinking? There is nothing deep about them. But God has given us a glimpse even the simplest things can bring Him glory. Everything I do can be an act of worship. I carried this thought with me as I did laundry and prayed for God to be glorified in the way I care for my family. As I spent time studying to write, I prayed this time would be an act of devotion. As I taught my son about independent clauses, I asked for God to multiply my small offering. As I spent undistracted time with my husband, I prayed God would be honored in my priorities.

I learned a rich lesson. Everything I do, whether simple or deep, can bring Him glory, honor and praise and I often won’t know which ones will ripple into eternity.

Written by Reiko Wright

You can read more from Reiko at www.reikowright.com.

8 thoughts on “The Simple Things

  1. Mary says:

    I LOVE THIS, though perhaps for a different reason than earlier reviewers. The “big” things we share with others may “seem” the most important and be long remembered; but it’s the simple, everyday, authentic moments that often touch us the most deeply…and certainly the most often.

    I love that you remind us not to wait until we can bring honor and glory to GOD in a “big” way. He isn’t looking for that. He wants the kind of honor and glory we bring to him when we scrub the toilet and thank Him that we have one, or we pay the bills and remember that it is He who provides both the amenities and the funds with which we pay for them. He loves the way we break into spontaneous song that expresses our love and praise for Him; and He doesn’t care that we may forget half the words or sing “off key.”

    He’s not even looking for that perfect prayer that we might try to offer. He just wants us to talk with Him as we might talk with our very closest confidant, holding nothing back. He wants us to believe that He cares for us — no matter how we might fail — and come to Him, child-like in our trust and faith. The “big” things — whether it’s loving the unlovely, or forgiving the unforgivable, or giving to the ungrateful — DO matter; but it’s the simple things that will keep us connected to Him in the day-to-day and prepare our hearts and minds for the bigger things He wants to teach us along the way.

    Thank you for your thoughts, Reiko! I pray that God will use you in wonderful ways to point to the “small” things that make the “biggest” difference!

    1. Reiko Wright says:

      Mary,
      Thanks for your comments. I love the ways you showed my how to see Him in the simple things (toilets, bills, spontaneous song). Thank you for your encouragement and affirmation.
      Reiko

  2. lauriewhin says:

    I am also one who loves hymns and spiritual songs, and I sing them frequently throughout the day. God’s Word tells us to offer a sacrifice of praise, and so I praise. I truly believe that praise opens the flood gates of heaven. Whatever are my circumstances, offering Him praise blesses me.
    But in addition to blessings, hymns and spiritual songs help me to carry God’s Word in my heart. I sing songs repeatedly to learn them for choir. And then I open His Word and find the same words that I have been singing. So each time I sing it, I recall that passage, and soon the words are deep in my heart.
    One last thought about hymns: so many hymns repeat words of Scripture. As I sing them I am lifting up His Word in prayer. There are times that I can’t bow my head in prayer, but I can sing my requests to Him.
    As Joann stated, we don’t need to be musically talented to sing praises to the Lord. He delights in every song, hearing a joyful noise.

  3. Lisa Kelley says:

    Dear sweet friend. I just love that you shared this post for Reiko. I’ve been singing Just As I Am lately but couldn’t remember all the words. Being saved in the Southern Baptist Church and singing in the choir….I knew that hymn well. It’s so beautiful. This post caused me to look up the lyrics. I’m going to work on memorizing them. Thank you! Coffee soon!!

  4. JoAnn says:

    I am fond of old hymns! I grew up in a traditional church and had so many of them memorized. In college most of my worship consisted of contemporary songs and choruses. It was then that the words of hymns I had sang all my life suddenly came alive and I actually heard the words I was singing. There are few days that go by now when a hymn’s melody doesn’t ring in my heart (and often out of my mouth). Despite my lack of musical talent- I love to sing and find it to be one of most natural ways to connect in worship 🙂

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