Can one simple thing or act really make a difference? We see it all the time- the impact of one. One quick heroic act saves a life or one kind word, transforms someone’s day. How can my life make a difference, even through the simple things? Recently, I vividly witnessed the ripple effect of one — unfortunately, the impact resulted in much chaos and heartache. Of course, that is not what I want. I think we never know, how something seemingly insignificant, is multiplied into something with profound impact. I never know the repercussion of even one “glimpse” will have in my life, or in the lives around me…
The insignificant pine cone
It all started with a pine cone – a rather large pine cone, I might add. Now, I had seen lots of pinecones in our Missouri yard, and in the woods behind our home. I had collected them, painted them for ornaments, thrown them at targets, and even pretended to cook with them. But I had never seen one or held one as heavy or as large as this one. It was over a foot long in length. My uncle, who lived in California, brought this pine cone as a souvenir of the many wonders of California. This one small glimpse of California made me want to go there and find the enormous trees that pinecones like this must fall from. I made the assumption that the largest trees must have the largest pinecones. Therefore, this pine cone must be from one of those massive redwood trees I had seen in a small snapshot in my social studies book. Now I wanted to go find them, gaze up their tall, massive, towering trunks, and walk in the shade of their forests. I wanted to see these trees up close and personal, for the small snapshot in my social studies book was not enough. One glimpse of that pine cone, and I wanted more.
A Glimpse of Jesus
Recently, a friend of mine was curious to learn more about Jesus Christ and Christianity. She knew a little, but not a lot. She was new to the United States, having grown up in a religious country, but not one in which you could freely explore Christianity or follow Christ. We had begun a friendship and she began to ask me questions about Jesus. So we started reading the gospel of John together, just to see what we could learn about Jesus. As we met and read John, we observed two things. We observed what Jesus was like and how people responded to Him. It was pretty simple.
As we read John slowly, bit by bit, we saw how people, all types of people, came to Jesus. They drew near to Him and brought with them their burdens, their hardships and difficulties. We also noticed in story after story, how Jesus visited and cared for the outcast, the stranger, the forsaken, the sick, the discouraged, the hopeless, the lost, the curious, the uncertain, and the unclean. Jesus was this kind of person, one whom others were drawn to. Seeing this, made us want to discover more.
In the beginning of John, a few stories about Jesus stood out to my friend. In one story, Jesus arrives alone at a well and a Samaritan woman is also there to draw water. Many, of course, know this story in John 4. If you read it with “fresh” eyes, it is very intriguing. He speaks with her, even though in His religious world he should not be associating with her. She is an outsider (a Samaritan), a woman, and has had many “husbands.” Jesus, of course knows all of this, and He still interacts with her. Jesus, knowing her need, says this, “Everyone who drinks of this water (from the well) will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” Jesus tells her that He offers her water that is truly satisfying and gives true life. After interacting with Jesus, she is amazed that He knows everything about her and that He offers her this water. This woman’s encounter with Him changes her and compels her to tell other Samaritans about this Jesus. Soon others begin to come, desiring to find out about Jesus, because of her story.
Seeing, or catching just a glimpse of, what Jesus is like moves us, and even changes us. One sip of this living water, one glimpse of Him, makes us want more. My friend, after seeing Jesus’ interaction with this woman at the well, and then with other outcasts (like the woman caught in adultery), was amazed. She paused, and then looked at me and said, “I like Jesus.” That is what even a glimpse of Jesus, of who He really is, does in a life.
Later, many years later after holding that extremely huge pine cone. I was able to go with my husband to California. Right away, I realized there was so much to see. It seemed like everyday was filled with something spectacular. The redwoods were amazing, but so was Highway 1 along the coast, Muir Woods, and San Francisco, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Pacific Ocean, and Yosemite National Park. There were also so many, many more things to see, that I didn’t get to see. There is always more.
Jesus gives us more. Jesus says in John 4:9, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father…” Jesus shows us what our Father in heaven is like. I think, as we get even just a glimpse of what He is like, we want more. I think if we could give others just a glimpse of what He is like, they also will want more. I want my life to be this kind of life, that gives glimpses of Jesus to others. Next time: How simple things impact others…
Overflow: allowing God’s ways to touch our lives and then our lives to pour out to others
- Begin reading through the gospel of John, a little at a time. Think of it as a movie, divided into many scenes, and just read one scene at a time. Whether you have read it many times, studied it thoroughly on your own, or this is your first time, ask yourself these questions:
- What is Jesus like?
- How do people respond to Him?
Overflow to others:
- Who is someone you could read through John with and look at these things questions together?
- What is Jesus like?
- How do people respond to Him?
- Verse: John 4:13,14
- “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.”