God’s love is revealed in His care for the little things,

15-12-2011 10:12 AM

By Pope Shenouda III


 



God’s care for the things that are little in value or number.


In the miracle of feeding the multitude of the five loaves and two fishes the Lord blessed this little stuff and it fed five thousand men besides women and children. More amazing are the words of the Lord to His disciples: “Gather up the fragments that remain.” (Jn6:12)! Of what value are these fragments, O Lord, that You care about them!


 


It is indeed a comfort to us to see the Lord cares about such fragments and commands that they be gathered up!!


If You, O Lord, do care about such fragments, You will certainly care about me who are thrown down, that a disciple of the apostles’ disciples may carry me up!


 


The five loaves were of barely which is cheaper than wheat, however, the Lord gave it the blessing of feeding the people. Moreover those loaves were received from a lad, which reveals the value of the young children.


 


The same applies to the miracle of feeding four thousand men. The words “few” and “little” combine together showing God’s love (Mt 15:34-38).


 


Nothing restrains the Lord from saving by many or by few (1 Sam 14:6). The Lord chose young David to save His people because “the battle is the Lord’s”, and He made David a hero glorified in the sight of everybody more than Saul. So the women sang to Saul for slaying thousands and to David for slaying ten thousands (1Sam 18:7)


 


The same happened to Gideon in his victory over the Midianites:


The Lord did not want to make Gideon to go to the battle with twenty two thousand lest Israel claim glory for itself (Judg7:2,3). So He decreased the number to three hundred only, that is 1% of the original number, and with this little number He saved the people!


 


The Lord chases twelve apostles only to spread faith through then.


By this little number He wanted them to be witness to Him in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria (Acts 1:8). Even after adding the seventy apostles (Lk 10), the number was still too small to preach the gospel to every creature, and to make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them (Mk 16:15; Mt 28:19,20)


 


The Lord’s care for the little things is also revealed in the parables.


What was, for instance, the value of the lost little coin that the woman (a symbol of the church, lights a lamp, sweeps the house, and searches carefully for it, and when she has found it, she has found it, she calls her friends to rejoice with her?! (Lk 15:8,9)


 


The Lord cares for every soul, even a sinner’s soul. He cared for Zacchaeus the tax – collection, for Mary Magdalene out of whom He had cast seven demons, and for the lost sheep. He went after it until he found it, then he laid it on his shoulders, rejoicing, and called his friends to rejoice with him, for there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents! (Lk8,19,15:4-10; Jn8)


 


God’s love gives us an idea about the value of the soul before Him, even if that soul is lost or has been dead and lived (Lk15:24, 32) He cares not only for the soul, but also for whatever is related to it, even the very hairs of our head (Mt 10:30-31;lk12:7). His care extended to the whole creation: to the field lilies with their beauty, varied colours and scent and the honey taken from them.


 


See also the Lord’s wonderful care for birds: the very cheap sparrows, not one of them falls to the ground without God’s will, nor forgotten by God! If such is God’s care for, how much rather will His care be for man who is far better than many birds!


 


Two examples reveal God’s care for birds; the words of the Lord: “look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow or reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” (Mt 6:26; Lk 12:24) And the words of the Psalm about the Lord? “He gives to the beast its food, and to the young ravens that cry.” (Ps 147:9)


I myself learnt a lesson from the faith and contentment of birds:


I was once standing before my cell in the monastery, when a handful of wheat fell on the ground. Birds came, but each one picked two or three seeds only and flew away leaving that food treasure behind! They had faith that God will feed them whenever they go. Their faith is deeper than the diligence of the ants. They do not care about tomorrow  nor about the rest of the day.


 


God’s protection to birds is wonderful!


 I  like very much the words of the Psalm: “Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” Indeed, none of them falls without God’s will!


 


Notice the kindness of the Lord towards birds in the words of the Book of Deuteronomy:


 


“If a bird’s nest happens to be before you…with young ones or eggs, with the mother sitting on the young or on the eggs,…let the mother go, and take the young for yourself, that it may be well with you and that you may prolong your days.” (Deut 22:6,7) See also the promise of blessing to whoever may have such kindness! God’s care about the feelings of the mother and children in the world of animals can be traced in His words, as an example, in (Ex 23:19): “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”


 


So many also are the examples of god’s compassion on animals:


God commanded Noah to take two of every living thing into the ark, a male and a female, to keep them alive, whether the clean or the unclean animals, and to take food for them. As for the clean animals of which sacrifices and burnt offerings were to be offered the Lord commanded Noah to take seven of each of them, a male and a female.


 


God’s compassion on Balaam’s donkey is an example of His care for animals (Num 22)


God’s compassion is clear in His giving rest to the animals on the Sabbath, for they need rest the same as man:


“The seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son…daughter..servant..ox..donkey..cattle..” (Deut 5:14).


 


God’s mercy extended even to the land, giving it rest as well, and also to servants and strangers. He said, “Six years you shall sow your land and gather in its produce, but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor…may eat; and what they leave, the beasts of the field may eat. In like manner you shall do with your vineyard and your olive grove…that your ox and your donkey may rest, and the son of your female servant and the stranger may be refreshed.” (Ex 23:10-12)


 


And in another places God says, “You shall not plough with an ox and a donkey together.” (Deut 22:10)


The reason is that the ox is certainly stronger than the donkey and faster, so if the donkey ploughs with it the donkey will be exhausted. It is God’s compassion on the donkey!


 


Therefore when the Lord entered Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, He sat on a donkey and a colt to give rest to each of them. Probably He rode the donkey on the hard roads, and the colt on the even roads. And how humble is the Lord when speaking about those two animals, saying, “The Lord has need of them”! (Mt 21:3)


 


In His kindness towards animals, the Lord commanded His people not to muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain (Deut 25:4)!


 


The ox while working will feel tired and hungry, and may eat of the grains to be able to continue in work, therefore it should not be muzzled. How great is such love!


God’s mercy is clear in saving the animals that falls down:


“You shall not see your brother’s donkey or his ox fall down along the road, and hide yourself from them; you shall surely help him lift them again,” “If you see the donkey of one who hates you lying under its burden, and you would refrain from helping it, you shall surely help him with it.” (Deut 22:4; Ex 23:5)


 


The Lord commands us to love the enemy and the animal.


He even allowed work on the Sabbath to save an animal, saying, “What man is there among you who has one sheep, and if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not lay hold of it and lift it out?” (Mt 12:11)


 


God even praised some animals for what they do rather than man. He rebuked Israel, saying, “The ox knows its owner and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know. My people do not consider!” (Isa 1:3) And about the ant He said, “Go to the ant, you sluggard! Consider her ways and be wise…” (Prov 6:6)


Do not also forget the amazing talents God gave to the bee! Yet, there is much still to be said.   


 


 


 

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