I don’t know how or why, but some years ago I began to receive a magazine about agriculture in Mississippi. I was not raised on a farm but I was raised in the country and every time that magazine arrives, I always find it of great interest to see what is taking place agriculturally across our state. A recent edition especially blessed my life because it was on one of the favorite foods in my life. I do not miss many days, if any days, without eating some peanuts. I love peanuts. I could eat them for breakfast, supper, snacks, lunch. Doesn’t matter. I love peanuts.
Peanuts in Mississippi are a big deal and a growing part of the agricultural industry, so I read everything the magazine had to say about peanuts. The article was filled with information about peanuts and how many tons of peanuts are needed in America and how many of them are produced in Mississippi. It was fascinating, to say the least. I thought about George Washington Carver and of course he was referenced at times in the article. These little growing parts on a plant, unseen until they are harvested, are genuinely helpful and are a staple for most people in America.
I thought about that one little peanut, that whenever you break open the shell and maybe there are two or three peanuts there inside, and how you pay so little attention to something like that. After reading all the article and thinking about it for several days, I thought I needed to pass some of that thinking on to some of our folks and let them ponder peanut power.
One thing I would point out is that you don’t have to be big to make a big difference. That’s the story of the peanut. Sometimes the word peanut is used in a derogatory sense as in, “That’s just peanuts,” but you don’t have to be big to make a big, big difference. From a spiritual standpoint you can walk through Scripture and see one example after another after another, where the big difference is made by a small thing. A lad had a simple lunch, and the greatest miracle that Jesus would perform was just ahead. A stick or a staff or, as it says, “Moses’ rod,” was held up and suddenly God began to separate the waters of the Red Sea. A boy with a stone and slingshot changed the history of a nation. You don’t have to be big to make a big difference. I suppose all of us from time to time think that we’re really insignificant, that nobody notices us and our little part of the world or our small church or tiny community doesn’t make a big difference, but you are wrong. It does make a big difference, and you can make a big difference so don’t let Satan ever tell you that your giftedness is small and insignificant.
The second thought I had about peanuts and the production of them was when enough peanuts get together, they bless a lot of folks. Here in Mississippi in our Baptist state convention, there are over 2,000 churches. Some of them literally have only a handful of folks, but they faithfully meet and get involved in missions and ministry. They sacrificially support the things of God and all of a sudden, one after another after another, become joined together and begin to bless the whole world. The impact of all these churches committed to one another under the Lordship of Jesus and our fellowship as a convention make a world of difference in the Kingdom work of the International Mission Board and the North American Mission Board, in church plants and schools, in the Baptist Children’s Village, and on and on where incredible waves of impact are made simply by small churches getting together.
Think about the little peanut. Ninety-four percent of American households eat peanut butter. If that’s not astounding enough, think about this: the average child will eat over 1,500 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches before he graduates from high school. Think about this: it takes 540 peanuts, all coming together, to fill a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter. To top it all off, think about this: here in the United States to feed our appetite for peanuts, it takes 1 ¼ million metric tons of peanuts. At 2,205 pounds per metric ton, that’s 2,756,250,000 pounds of peanuts! The fact is that one peanut standing alone can’t do a whole lot but, boy, when they get together, it is significant.
A third and final thought I want to pass along to you is that if you can’t enjoy the small things in life, in this case just a peanut, you’re missing out on a lot. Now, I know that there are people who can’t eat peanuts because they have an allergy that will not allow them to do so, and I often think to myself, “What in the world would have happened to me if I had that allergy?” If you cannot enjoy the small things, you’re missing so much. Happiness is not exclusively connected to peanuts, of course. There are people who do not find joy in life and blessings from God because the things they see around them are just small things, unimportant things, things beneath them. Well, if that is true for you, I just want to say to you that you’re missing out on a bunch.
I know people who sometimes think that their pastor is not the best preacher in the world or the best leader in the world and he’s not up to snuff with some of the big names that might be out there but, oh, the blessing you may be missing in not knowing the grace of God at work in his life or the goodness of his heart in serving Jesus and the way God has used him to magnify the name of Jesus all around. It’s worth stopping and looking at what you may have thought was small. Don’t miss out on the goodness and greatness of God simply because you think something is too small to make a difference.
Maybe you look at someone who seems not to be as talented as other people who can sing or play or do other things, but don’t miss out on what God wants to do, and will do, to bring joy to your life through just a small package of talent. I hope you’re not allergic to small things, even peanuts, but if you are, stop and look again at the small things around you that are of immense value and can bring great blessings to your life. Maybe it’s a precious child packaged up in just a few pounds to whom you haven’t been giving sufficient attention. Maybe it’s a small job that you’ve treated that way, like it was a small job, not realizing God was doing a great thing through small efforts. Recapture or be recaptured by the power of a peanut that can bless and make a difference in this world, and ask God to open your eyes to see the great blessing He’s giving in the small things around you. Thank the Lord for what He’s given you, and now go and fix yourself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The author can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.