I love mustard. Well, I probably don’t love it more than the average guy, but I do love having dinner with my kids and watching the expressions on their faces when I take a double portion of mustard. For my younger children, eating mustard is abhorrent—they immensely enjoy telling me that I am ruining a perfectly good hamburger by smothering it with mustard.
Last night, as we were sitting down to dinner, my five-year-old lit up and announced that she had something special for me. She ran to her backpack and came back with a little packet of mustard. She explained that it had been hot dog day in school, and was about to throw away her little mustard packet when she remembered how much her father loved it. So she saved it in her backpack. She then walked over to me and proudly and lovingly gave me her special gift of mustard.
At five years old, there are not many things that you can give to your dad. She can’t buy a gift or bake me cookies without significant help from someone else. But this gift of mustard she gave by herself, lovingly and with an amazing smile. Honestly, it was one of the most special and meaningful gifts that I have received in a long time.
As I was thinking this over, an interesting thought occurred to me: this story is an amazing parallel to our relationship with God. God gives us everything—our lives, our family, and all that is around us. Sometimes we do something out of the ordinary and go beyond our usual divine service. We might do a selfless act of kindness. We may sacrifice something very important to us so that we follow His Torah. Those are our little packets of mustard. In the grand scheme of things, they may not seem so significant, but when God sees the love, dedication, and sincerity we put into them, He notices. God is at least as proud, touched, and happy as I was when my little one presented me with her little packet of mustard.
Sincerity matters, love matters, and in spirituality there are no little things.