Ministry Letter

Gareth writes... (May 2021)

When I was little my Gran used to tell me… ‘Look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves’.  It’s a phrase that has stuck with me to this day.  Another way of saying this might be ‘if you look after the small decisions the bigger ones will take care of themselves’.
Life gets busy doesn’t it.  ‘Time waits for no man’ they say.  When big decisions come along, they cause us to pause and take the necessary time to decide on the best course, we pay attention.  But more regularly time and a sense of being ‘busy’ stops us from pausing.  This often means that the many small decisions we make from day to day, hour to hour, moment to moment, they get much less attention, much less care.  But here’s the thing, 1 plus 1 equal 2, add another 1 and you have 3, if you add enough 1s well you can then get to just about any number.  Have you ever reached a point in your life and thought “how did I get here?”  It may be a positive or a negative question, but a sense of not quite knowing how this happened.  Sometimes it might be in an argument; things have been said, and after a while you realise you’ve said things you didn’t mean to say.  Or it could be over a period of time a series of small decisions have led you to a place you’re not happy with.
In the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin there’s a scene towards the end of it when a man is complaining to his friend ‘the doctor’ that his wife nags him, and the doctor says this… ‘If you love your wife, my advice is be nice to her. Bring in the wood before she asks you for it. If she is cold, then put a shawl around her shoulders. And bring her a flower every time you come back from the field.’  The man was blaming his wife’s actions without considering how he got to that point.  It’s easier to blame than it is to take care.  The doctor was saying how about taking care in the small decisions, not in grand heroic gestures, but in the little things.
In the Bible there is this one book called Proverbs; it could be considered as a collection of wise advice or sayings.  In Proverbs 3 verses 5-6 it says this… ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.’  It’s essentially saying that each moment, each decision, they matter.  There’s a practice of prayer called The Examine.  The essential idea being that at a point in the day, usually at the end of the day, you take time to think through what you’ve done in the last 24 hours.  Asking yourself in which moments/decisions did I make good choices and in which moments did I make bad ones.  The purpose isn’t to then beat yourself up about the bad ones or feel smug about the good ones, but to bring these before God and to ask for wisdom to do good in the next 24 hours, to ‘look after the pennies so the pounds will look after themselves.’
Rev Gareth Hutchinson