By Joe LaGuardia
After church last Sunday, I was crazy enough to do my exercise walk on the beach in 55-degree, windy weather. The waves were breaking as far as the eye could see, almost perpendicular to the coast, and the wind was so strong the seagulls were flying backwards (or, was it that they were blowing away with grace?).The first half of my walk took me southbound, so the wind was at my back. I wore shorts, so I felt sand pelting against my legs. The sand hurt, like a thousand little needle pricks on my skin.On the walk back I had to bundle in my sweater–it took me twice as long to get back. The seagulls and I fought the wind together. By the time I reached my car, I felt like sea salt had settled in my lungs.When we think of ministry–not just for a minister, but all of us–we often think of the big things we do that bring meaning to the lives of others. Ministry and mission projects, feeding the impoverished, helping the elderly, teaching Sunday School class– those are the things that come to mind.But I am often reminded that ministry is made up of the sum of a thousand little decisions and acts of kindness we do over the course of time.Something as simple as a smile can make a person’s day. Praying for someone who “pops” into your mind while driving in the car can make a difference. Writing a short note of encouragement can move and inspire people to act in godly ways.But the opposite is also true. We can harm relationships and people by the thousand little ways that we prick and needle at their lives and hearts. Words hurt, decisions not always wise can distract people from finding healing and encouragement. We can be bad friends who are held at arms-length because we take advantage or take others for granted.As you walk your journey path this week, consider that it is often the little things that count. Be mindful, pray often, and keep aware of the way God shines through you!