The Middle Cinnamon Roll

Seth Wright, Director of Missionary Discipleship

Every time we have a birthday in my house, we have cinnamon rolls for breakfast. We don’t really ever have them any other time of the year, but with me, my wife, and our six daughters in the house, that’s eight birthdays, so that’s probably enough times to have cinnamon rolls anyway.

The problem is, everyone wants the middle cinnamon roll. (Except for me. I like the edge.) We usually bake them in pie pans, so there are only one or two middle cinnamon rolls per pie pan. Granted, we do usually bake three pans, but there is still a fight to get the middle cinnamon roll. The birthday girl gets one, of course, but there is a mad scramble, tears, pleading, promises, and bartering to get the other middle cinnamon rolls.

Every now and then, though, one of my daughters will surprise me and say, “Mommy, I know you like the middle cinnamon roll, too. You take the one I was going to have” – a little sacrifice made with great love.

My daughters can’t cure diseases at their age. They can’t rid the world of homelessness or crime. They can’t have much of a visible impact at all right now, and they will be back to arguing and fighting and disobeying a few minutes after doing something like that, but they can do that. That simple act of love and sacrifice – that they can do. And, hopefully, they can do it more and more as they grow.

And, hopefully, I can do it more and more as well. Is there a small sacrifice I can make today for my wife, for my daughters, for my coworkers, for the person I pass on the road? Can that small sacrifice be made as a prayer for that person? Can that small sacrifice be made as an act of love for them and for love of Jesus? Can that small sacrifice be an act of recognition of the dignity and value of that other person? With God’s help it can, for without Him I am selfish and lonely and bitter. But with Him, I can actually pray for that person that cuts me off in traffic instead of expressing other feelings towards him. Now, I just have to remember to do it. This is the beauty and the genius of St. Thérèse’s “Little Way.” Anyone can do it. Anyone can do little acts with great love. You can put your phone away to talk to your kid or read them a story. You can tell your parents that you appreciate all that they do for you. You can resist the temptation to pick on your little sister. I have four little sisters, so, in my brokenness, I know how hard that can be, but “I can do all things in him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). Whatever opportunities to sacrifice out of love for Jesus and others the Lord puts in your way, you can trust that He will give you the grace to make that sacrifice.