It was the last thing on my shopping list, a dozen eggs.  I’d been around the big store already and my handbasket was full (I should have taken a trolley).  The eggs were on the top shelf in front of me so, putting the basket on the floor, I was about to stretch on tiptoe when I felt the Lord telling me to ask the lad on my right to reach them for me.  So I asked him, ‘Could you get a dozen down for me, please?’  ‘Sure’, he said, and handed me the two boxes.  ‘Thank you very much,’ I responded, and he added, ‘Check them in case any are cracked and I’ll get you some more.’  I did, moving them slightly with one finger as you do.  They were fine and I thanked him warmly.  He gave me a big smile and moved on.  ‘What was that about?’ I asked my divine Prompter and knew straight away that it was because the lad normally doesn’t get much gratitude for the kind things he does in his life – not enough affirmation of his worth.

It’s obeying God in the small things as well as the big that makes our world turn.

My friend, Jennifer Bute, told me of the time she was in a Bakery when she knew that God wanted her to buy four cupcakes, instead of just one for herself.  It didn’t make sense, but she bought them and took them home.  She ate one with a cup of tea and then felt a prompt to visit a friend in the retirement village where she lives.  She picked up the three remaining cupcakes and took them with her.  Opening the door her friend said how lovely it was to see her and that she was in time for a cup of tea with her and another friend, adding, ‘but I don’t have any cake!’  So Jennifer handed her the three cakes saying that God had prompted her to buy them, which was a delightful ‘witness’ to the two friends.

Often, we hear an older person saying that he or she feels they are of no use any more, even when they’ve recognised that God designed old age deliberately.  They have unconsciously absorbed ageist thinking that says that simply because they are older, they are ‘past it’.  They’ve nothing left to give.   They are also not recognising what it means to be useful in God’s economy.

For ‘being useful’ doesn’t mean having a major role that everyone can see.  It’s simply being yourself, with all the attributes that God has honed in you during your lifetime, and trusting Him.  Most older people have deeper, stronger relationships with the Lord than they realise, and it’s out of that relationship that God nudges and speaks to you.  Isaiah 30:21 says, ‘ Your ears will hear a word behind you, “This is the way, walk in it,” whenever you turn to the right or to the left.’ And Jesus told His disciples that after His death the Holy Spirit would be in them, to guide them.

God is in charge of the detail.  After my eggs experience I said, send me more like that so I can do it again – but He delights in infinite variety in everything, including opportunities.  Same with Jennifer and the cupcakes… she knows when He is nudging.

Don’t ever think that you are not ‘useful’!  God values you because you are made in His image, not because you are useful, but He loves to give us opportunities to encourage others (1 Thessalonians 5:11)



Louise Morse

Louise Morse MA (CBT) is media and external relations manager for the Pilgrims’ Friend Society. She is a writer and speaker, and author of books on issues of old age, including dementia, published by Lion Monarch and SPCK. She is a cognitive behavioural therapist, and her Masters’ dissertation examined the effects of caring for a loved one with dementia on close relatives.

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