Little Bits of Good

On Tuesday afternoon I had the occasion to have some coffee with a priest friend of mine–in fact, one of the two priests who will officiate at our wedding–and someone who has been a great theological conversation partner of mine for the past couple of years.  We were talking about the state of the soul and can the thoughts, words, and deeds that we have and do and think in this life have any real affect on our eternal soul (you know the typical conversation one has at Starbucks).

My friend reminded me of something that C.S. Lewis wrote about in his book Mere Christianity:

“Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. The smallest good act today is the capture of a strategic point from which, a few months later, you may be able to go on to victories you never dreamed of.” (p. 132)

Ahhh, Clive Staples, you speak the truth indeed!    This idea that the small decisions, the daily interactions that we have with others, the things we do and say all have an impact on our ability both to do good and, conversely to do evil.

I am reminded of a Daily Cup post I wrote several months ago about a lady I know at Virginia Theological Seminary who is one of the folks who works in the accounting and finance department…who routinely stops and picks up earthworms who, during or after a rainstorm, have been washed onto the concrete sidewalks.  She carefully takes them and throws them back into the grass, being for them, a shepherdess for those invertibrate lost sheep.

What C.S. Lewis talks about above is that those little decisions for good or evil can create solid bases in our souls from which can come increasingly greater leaps of goodness.  The more we practice goodness and make kind and good decisions the greater our capacity for goodness and loving kindness.  These little moments and decisions help to nourish and feed our souls increasing our capacity to do even more.  What an amazing concept.

 

What are the little small decisions that you make in your day and how do you think they are bringing you closer to the loving God who shows infinite goodness and loving kindness to you in your life?

 

Matthewfirst

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About matthewhanisian

Associate Rector at St. Alban's Episcopal Church, Washington, D.C.
This entry was posted in The Rev. Matthew R. Hanisian and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Little Bits of Good

  1. Susan Muncey says:

    I know that I am to come away with your main thought of: “the more we practice goodness and make kind and good decisions the greater our capacity for goodness and loving kindness. These little moments and decisions help to nourish and feed our souls increasing our capacity to do even more. What an amazing concept”, but I am so excited to hear that you are getting married!!! I like the Yiddish phrase, Maz Tov, a form of a blessing. I am thrilled for you & your fiancé!!!
    Susan

  2. I’ve been a pilot for over 30 years. We carefully study airplane crashes, examining the details for the causes and for ways we can be safer airmen. Rarely is an aircraft accident caused by one big mistake. In almost every case, a string of small decisions, none of which is necessarily wrong or bad leads to the next decision and the next, leading the pilot down a path of subsequent decisions which place the aircraft in a fatal, unrecoverable situation.

    I find the same to be true in life, and in faith. Tend to the small things. Do good in small ways and the big things will take care of themselves.

  3. Kim Moreland says:

    I’m puzzled by the initial question under discussion: “We were talking about the state of the soul and can the thoughts, words, and deeds that we have and do and think in this life have any real affect on our eternal soul.”

    This question calls to mind the Puritan concept of Election–that one’s eternal state is predetermined by God, irrespective of one’s “thoughts, words, and deeds.” Neither works nor even faith will alter to any degree one’s eternal state. God has already determined if one is a sheep or a goat, one of the Saved or the Damned.

    This perspective seems distinctly incompatible with the Episcopal Church as I know it.

    Of course, the rest of the Daily Cup addresses the importance of decisions and actions that are intrinsically good (or evil), and that lead to yet greater good (or evil) decisions and actions. It is clear that we are being encouraged, rightly indeed, to think, say, and act in good ways– all to the good!

    But however valuable, this discussion does not actually answer the initial question raised, instead simply shifting the focus.

    Can anyone out there–theologian or lay-person–offer some clarification on the meaning and significance of the initial question, and also on the relationship of the initial question and the rest of the Daily Cup?

    I would be very grateful to gain further understanding.

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