You Make a Difference, More Than You Know

“Watch what God does, and then you do it,
like children who learn proper behavior from their parents.
Mostly what God does is love you.
Keep company with Him and learn a life of love.
Observe how Christ loved us.
His love was not cautious but extravagant.
He didn’t love in order to get something from us
but to give everything of Himself to us.
Love like that.

Ephesians 5:1-2 The Message

The “butterfly effect” suggests that the whir of air released by a butterfly’s wings can magnify over time to release a power that can affect weather patterns thousands of miles away.  An unnoticed, seemingly insignificant action can intensify to a storm of consequence. Yes, it may take a long time, but it still ripples into the big story God has planned.

Every act of kindness we make causes a reaction which causes even further reactions. Sometimes these acts will be noticed and appreciated, and other times they aren’t. But God still uses them, regardless of the lack of acclaim.

Sometimes it feels like we don’t make a difference in the world, but we do. One act of kindness at a time. Years ago in a Bible Study using The Purpose Driven Life, I met a single mom who day after day washed bedding in the dark basement of a hospital. She was certain she did not have a purpose that glorifies God.  She wondered – What difference do I make in this world?

She woke me up to how much I don’t appreciate the work behind blessings I take for granted.  Those same clean, crisp, white sheets I have laid on in a hospital bed were washed by a woman who thought she wasn’t making a difference in the lives of anyone.  In reality, her quiet, unnoticed flap of wings has made a greater difference than she will ever realize.

When Heaven Is for Real first came out, a friend bought two copies to share with others. I received one copy and shared it with some neighbors whose lives were touched by it.  One neighbor bought a copy and also passed it around, and that person was so impacted that she bought her own copy to share with others. God works wonders from a simple act of kindness and caring.  A flap of the wings and the power releases.

It has been years since I watched the movie Pay It Forward, but the impact of it still resounds in my heart. Trevor came up with an idea for a seventh-grade assignment.  He would pass on an act of kindness to three people, and each of them in turn would pass on a good deed to three more.  His seemingly insignificant act stirred up a whirlwind of kindness in his school, his community, and even spread to other communities. The ending shocked me, but it portrays reality. Not all people accept or pass on kindness. Still, that doesn’t stop the difference our kindness continues to make on others.

Even a smile, a kind word, a door held open, or some other small gesture can sprinkle hope into someone’s heart, whether it’s a family member, friend, or a stranger. And whether or not they’re noticed or appreciated, acts of kindness not only affect those around us today, but by God’s grace they ripple on and shape the lives of others even years from now.

Now consider… If one pair of wings can gradually intensify into a storm, imagine what we can do together.

"What I do you cannot do; but what you do, I cannot do.
 The needs are great, and none of us,
 including me, ever do great things.
 But we can all do small things, with great love,
 and together we can do something wonderful."
 ~ Mother Teresa

“Try a Little Kindness”
by Glen Campbell

“May God give us grace
to show the same kindness to others
as He shows to us!”