Gratitude Day 881

Proverbs 3:27: Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.

Nearly every week, I am reminded of this saying and how true it is:

The little things ARE the big things.

Yep, it happens over and over. I have a plan for the day. Some days, I have more flexibility than others. Something happens unexpectedly and I have to decide: do I stick with my plan for the day or grab an opportunity to do something completely unexpected?  The last minute lunch offer. A longer conversation with Hubby Rick than I expected. Can I pick up one of our grandkids with short notice?

Often, these things aren’t super big. The unexpected opportunity isn’t earth shattering or going to dramatically change anyone’s life. But maybe, it is the opportunity God has laid before me today as a chance to make a difference in once person’s life. The question becomes whether I will grab this opportunity or stick with my plan for the day and prioritize this?

Somedays, I do need to stick with the plan. Other days? Flexibility is good. So often, I am reminded that these more spontaneous opportunities are a way that I can support someone else in a seemingly small way, which ends up being much bigger than I anticipated.

Showing up for other people is truly priceless. Seriously. Let me share five small ways that you can show up for someone in a seemingly small way that in the end, can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.


Maybe, someone simply needs someone to listen to them. They don’t need advice or problem solving. They just need someone to hear them out.

A business associate called last minute this week and asked if I was at the office. Could I meet this person for lunch? As it turns out, I was working from home this day. Well, we could still meet for lunch, the person indicated.

I look down at what I was wearing. Workout clothes. The business associate would be in town in a few minutes. Yes, I had other things planned, like going for a run later in the day. I told the business associate that I would be showing up just the way I was dressed. If this was OK, then let’s have lunch.  

As it turns out, this person is going through many significant changes in their life right now. Family things. Work things. A family member in the hospital. Farm things. Did this person just want to vent? I’m not sure. I decided to provide a safe place for this person to share. Not try to fix everything. Listen and give my full attention. It probably was the most important thing I did all day. I could have easily missed this opportunity. I’m glad that I didn’t.

When someone contacts you and seems to need a few minutes of your time, are you able to give it? Simply listen with your undivided attention?

Say, “Thank you.”

It is amazing how two small words can make such a difference! Thank the person for sharing something personal with you. Thank someone who went out of their way to bless you. Appreciate the tiny things that are made available to you and end up becoming a big thing in your day.

When you are the person who needs someone to listen to you, thank the person who listened and mean it. Send a card, a quick text, flowers or some little gift that expresses your gratitude that someone took an interest in you.

How do you feel when someone tells you, “Thank you?” May these emotions motivate you to pay these two words forward frequently.

Be flexible.

Earlier in my marriage, it was hard for me to be flexible. Mind you, I was going to seminary, serving two churches and trying to manage lots of things. Flexibility was not always possible.

In contrast, Hubby Rick LOVES being spontaneous. Last minute is his favorite. While it can often work out great to be last minute, there are times when I yearn for more structure. Yet, I also do not want to be so structured that I miss out on an opportunity that otherwise would have passed me by.

I try very hard to bookend my day with a way to start my day and a way to end my day. This brings some structure to my day so that when I need to be flexible, it still feels like I have some control over the day. Having time in the morning where I make coffee, spend time with God, read and prepare for the day is super helpful for me. If I start my day with this routine, then if everything else gets turned upside down, I feel that at least I had this time just for me. At the end of the day, I prepare to end my day with a few minutes of relaxing and reading. Again, just a few minutes helps quite my soul most of the time.  

When unexpected things happen, we still make the choice whether to pursue the expected or stay with what our plan was. Adapting is often important. It reminds us that serving others is part of being involved in God’s kingdom and doesn’t always happen only when we want it to happen.

Being flexible can take a few minutes or be significantly longer. When someone asks for you to be extremely flexible, maybe your best opportunity is to provide some of what they need, rearranging your plans to help them for at least some of their needs.

Ask someone how you can help them.

It is amazing how seldom we actually ask each other how we might help. And it’s even more infrequent how often we allow someone to help us out.

Maybe asking is all the other person needs. But only ask if you can help someone if you have every intention of actually being available. When I feel very bogged down, it is amazing how much better I feel when Hubby Rick does one simple thing for me, like emptying the dishwasher or making a phone call he can make instead of me. Taking interest in what is going on in someone else’s life will often put a spring in their step.

When you offer to help and the person doesn’t know how to respond, suggest a couple easy things you could do to assist them. Pick up a child or grandchild. Drop off dinner, even if it is just from the deli. Help someone who finds technology challenging with an easy fix that will make things much easier for them.

Give them a hug.

Seriously. Sometimes, this is all it takes. When we are with our grandkids, I really try to hug them when we depart, unless it’s a tween boy and his friends are around. That is simply not cool.

So many people feel physically deprived in their lives. They want a hug or someone to just touch their hand. Of course, I’m talking about totally appropriate behavior here and only if the other person is open to this. Some people do not want to be hugged or touched. Respect this. If I am not sure, I ask the person in advance and follow their lead. Be wise about physical contact with young people. It may make them feel uncomfortable unless they know you well.

Sometimes a hug or a pat on the shoulder can convey more than words can. And reminds them that someone cares for them.

Do you know someone who might be missing the blessing of a physical touch? If so, ask them if you can hug.

Everyday, we have the opportunity to bring some good into another person’s life. We choose whether to do this or not. Maybe, the best way to do this is with some little thing we can do that will completely change their attitude or outlook.

Think about it. What little things in your life have become big things that really make a difference? I would love to hear them!

For the opportunity to do something small for another person today, I am grateful.

Blessings –


Loving God – Thank you for bringing those people into my life who bless me by doing something small for my benefit, which ends up being something big. May I discover the opportunity to do this for someone else and bless them. Amen.

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