It’s the Small Things (Guest Blog by Emma Clarke)

I love it when the Bible tells of supernatural things happening out of ordinary acts. For David a tiny stone, through God’s power, was enough to fell a giant (1 Samuel 17). For those who marched around Jericho some notes on a trumpet, through God’s power, were enough to make the walls of a fortified city turn to rubble (Joshua 6).

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Since May, I have been working as the Public Engagement Assistant for Presbyterian World Service & Development, the development and relief agency of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. You may have heard of PWS&D in the wake of an emergency, because of the relief efforts (like those for Hurricane Dorian that you can read about at http://werespond.ca/hurricane-dorian) that PWS&D often engages in through ACT Alliance. You may have had a conversation with someone whose church sponsored a family to Canada as refugees with the support of PWS&D. What I have found the most inspiring since I began learning about PWS&D is this agency’s development programs which focus on food security, health, livelihoods and human rights in order to help communities around the world overcome poverty and build sustainable futures (which you can read about at http://werespond.ca/what-we-do).

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My role at PWS&D largely involves equipping volunteers called Champions to do small things that, through God’s power, are making a big difference. Whether you’re new to Amberlea or an old pal, whether you’re always available or time-crunched, whether you’re shy or charismatic - you, too, can do little things that help bring about a world where everyone has abundant life.

One way to respond to God’s call to care for our sisters and brothers is by contributing financially to programs that are working at the grassroots level to meet their needs for the long-term. I praise God that we live in a country where, when we give small financial gifts through certain organizations, they are often matched. In this way, our tiny contributions grow to do even more than we can imagine.

Something else that has a multiplying effect is learning about the trials people face around the world. What if, in light of World Food Day on October 16, we researched how climate change has been affecting the ability of farmers in Afghanistan to feed their families? Maybe as a result we’d all begin to pack a reusable water bottle or coffee mug, opening up the door to pass on the things we’ve learned to our friends or colleagues who’ve noticed the change.

God has promised in the past: “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). As we think about how much healing is needed in the world around us, I also believe that we can make a big difference through the humble act of prayer. Whether spontaneous or inspired by a text like the prayer below from Canadian Foodgrains Bank (a partnership of 15 Canadian churches and church-based agencies working together to end global hunger, of which PWS&D is a member) I believe God hears our petitions, and in compassion, outstretches Holy hands to do far beyond all we could ask or imagine.

God our Father,
in the name of him who gave bread to the hungry,
we remember all who,
through our human ignorance, folly, and sin,
are condemned to live in want.

Show us, who have so much, what we can do
to help those who have so little;
and bless the efforts of those
who work to overcome poverty and hunger,
that sufficient food may be found for all;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.