Most of the time you don’t know the full extent of the effect you’re having on other people’s lives.
Last weekend I took my 8-year-old son Ethan down to Indianapolis to watch a Pacers game (vs. the Minnesota Timberwolves) and spend the night. It seemed to me that things went "fine", judging by Ethan’s reaction to everything. Kevin Garnett didn’t play, which was too bad, but Ethan seemed to be enjoying himself, so I told my wife, when she asked how things went, that things were "fine."
Then today Ethan brought home a brief story he wrote in class about something that happened to him recently. He wrote about the weekend watching the Pacers. After gushing about how great it all was, he ended with this line:
It was almost the best day of my life.
It brought home to me again how much of an effect we have on each other’s lives without really knowing it most of the time. When we talk about "missional church" and "emerging church" and all that stuff, it really boils down to things like this, where a human life touches another human life. Missional church starts with how I treat my spouse and my kids, it starts with my attitude toward my neighbors, whether they’re good ones or not. It doesn’t start with grandiose schemes to evangelize cities, it starts in much more humble, boring circumstances: learning to put away anger, becoming more self-controlled, exercising patience (again), learning kindness, actually preferring others above myself.
You won’t make the headlines with accomplishments like that, but you will probably have a far greater impact than you imagine.
RC of strangeculture says
Thanks for sharing this very encouraging word!
I sure hope it’s true…sometimes it really starts to feel like your wasting a whole lot of energy…and that’s all it is…exerted energy. It’s hard to trust that it’s more and God is using what we’re doing.
–RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com
Man…that was a priceless thing Ethan said.
In working with Junior High students, sometimes it seems pretty fruitless. You aren’t really sure if you are making an impact.
And then every once in a while a kid may say something, or come back and say what a difference thier junior high experence was for them.
I cherish those moments.