So Jesus said to them, “…for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20
I remember the first time I heard the verse from Matthew 17 and wondering what would happen if everyone decided to give that a go. I mean, there aren’t enough mountains, right? I was young, and tended to take things very literally.
In a recent online discussion with fellow blogger, BeautyBeyondBones, the idea of doing something earth shattering for someone came up. Sometimes we do that without any real effort. Sometimes we do it and never even know it!
I remember someone coming to me once and telling me that I said something that completely changed his life for the better. I couldn’t even remember the visit let alone what I said. As a college instructor I changed a young woman’s life, and didn’t even know it till after the term. She came to my office, changed from blond to brunette. She finally felt like shewas really smart after all and decided to leave behind the “dumb blond” she had always thought she was. See Smart Blond.
We really shook the pillars of heaven, didn’t we, Wang? Jack Burton: Big Trouble in Little China
When BeautyBeyondBones does something earth-shattering to help the followers of her blog – and she is very inspirational – she’s not sure she did that much. I haven’t always known when I’ve made a contribution that made someone else’s life better, that “rocked their world.” Or tossed their mountain into the sea.
When you or I do something earth shattering for someone else, it isn’t always a Herculean effort on our part. When we live in faith, God works through us to help others. God gives us spiritual gifts that we use to help those around us. Just as a bird would find nothing amazing about flying or a fish about swimming, someone with a gift from God finds that changing someone else’s life can take little effort.
God can use anyone to accomplish His intended purpose, believers and unbelievers. God using Babylon and other wicked nations and people to accomplish His ends in the Bible are examples. But here is the difference; when we perform good works through faith, when caring for others comes from acting on Jesus’ love to us, when it blooms as the fruit of the Spirit, we can do so much more than feed someone or give them money. We can start to show them the way to God!
I am a board member of a Christian charity called Friends of Russian Orphans, F.O.R.O. This is their mission statement: Friends of Russian Orphans (“FORO”) is an American mission organization, dedicated to demonstrating the love of Jesus Christ to Russian orphans and their caregivers through practical assistance and friendship programs.
We’ve rewired orphanages that were in danger of burning down, replaced holes in the floor over sewage lines with REAL TOILETS, complete with stalls! We’ve paid for education programs to be introduced into some orphanages. We’ve also introduced Jesus to them in places where we were allowed to. Showing we did more than talk, we gained credibility and could begin to work with their souls in addition to bodies and minds.
One of our programs was hosting a group of orphans from a Russian orphanage here in the states for two weeks, ten kids or so, accompanied by a couple caregivers from the orphanage to chaperone their travels and help with communication. Each child stayed with a host family, had their own bedroom, went to Vacation Bible School, the zoo, swimming, all sorts of things.
Over half were adopted by their host families over the three years we could do this. The orphanages reported noticeably improved behavior from those who weren’t. They had seen what a real family can be like, and tried to bring that back with them, buoyed with the hope that life CAN get better!
The last time we were able to do this, one of the chaperones just seemed to be an old sourpuss, some crusty, Russian government employee. We couldn’t help feeling a bit put off that we had paid for her travel along with the rest and she couldn’t show a little courtesy in return.
We would give the chaperones a treat every time of a shopping trip to Chicago for a couple days. FORO’s founder has a sister there, and she put the chaperones up at her house.
Old Crusty got one daughter’s bedroom. The daughter’s white confirmation Bible was on the bed stand.
The next morning the chaperone came to the kitchen looking like she’d been up all night. The white Bible was in her hand. She had indeed been up all night, reading God’s Gospel. All she could say was something along the lines that she had never known any of this. She was devastated, but…changed. She wanted to get her own Bible to take home with her, so they spent a good part of the day finding a white confirmation Bible just like the one she read.
They prayed with her, and she accepted Jesus as her Saviour.
Likewise, I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents. Luke 15:10
It was just a shopping trip from Toledo to Chicago. It was a daughter letting a stranger sleep in her room. It was a Bible just left where it always was.
But those things shattered her earth, rocked her world, changed her life, tossed her mountain into the sea, and shook the pillars of heaven with the joy of angels over one sinner who repented.
Not bad. For a shopping trip.