Some days I say what can I do? I’m just one woman. There are days, let’s face it, when I feel pretty weak. I’m normally pretty confident, but there are times when I feel anything but confident! How can I affect anything? I have always wanted to affect people (either through my writing or through my day-to-day-life or even through my presentations). I want to inspire them so they can become what they are meant to be so the world can improve.
That may be because I am determined to make a difference. That determination is a hallmark of my generation. It was and is our calling card. How am I making a difference? Through my tutoring I am perhaps a bit of a Johnny Appleseed. I see the longing in my students’ hearts … a longing to succeed. I prod them forward and help them fill in their gaps. It is thrilling to see them take their faltering steps at first, then canter, then go into a full gallop…..and they’re off.
That is the typical way I attempt to make a difference these days. Sometimes it is actually quantifiable. But really, God calls us to make a difference at every moment. A stained glass window at a nearby church states “At every moment, do what love requires”.
Now THAT is a challenge! Especially for a perfectionist like me! You can make yourself crazy holding your feet to the fire and saying “really? did you really do what love requires at every moment??”.
I don’t think God calls us to be harsh with ourselves or with others. He calls us to be forgiving and loving of others AND ourselves. You can make a difference in big ways and little ways. Something as simple as cocking your head and smiling at someone as you pass, in a friendly way, could help a person get through a tough day.
The other day while I was driving around town running errands I had my radio tuned in to talk radio. I finally had the good sense to turn it over to the station playing classical music. I mean REALLY—I was SO tired of cranky hosts and callers spilling their judgmental vitriol. It was putting me in a completely ticked off mood. Switching the station made me feel like I was walking through a refreshingly cool and breezy sun-dappled forest. . . . a sun dappled forest near an ocean….that is saying a lot, because I live in the desert!
So why did I choose Mustard Seeds for my theme today? One reason is that they are tiny, and my efforts seem tiny against the tides of negativity that surround the culture. Yet in a recent Gospel reading at church Jesus told us the faith of a mustard seed is enough to move mountains. Think of it! Each tiny difference we make throughout the day can add up to quite a bit, especially if we keep at it!
If we plant our seed of faith and hope in good soil (the soil of a heart willing to stay close to God) our seed will take root, grow, and prosper—watered by God and fertilized by Him and those who love us. A temporary drought will not kill faith; God promises that that is true.
Persistence in tiny efforts pays off. Shawshank Redemption is a movie that I loved. there are a few parts that I love in the movie. One is the look on Andy’s face when they are unpacking the books for the prison library. One of the prisoners unpacked a book, laughed, and said “ha-here’s a book by some guy called Dumb-Ass”. Andy gets this amazing look on his face and said, “No, that’s Dumas–you should read it”. The line itself is relatively inconsequential. But the look on his face was that of a man that was so free and joy filled. He had mentally gone to a place of joy. . . a place beyond his prison walls.
The other part I loved was the payoff for constant efforts of Andy the rock-hound. Those who have seen the movie know what I mean about effort and devotion on his part. We can rise above sorrow, heartbreak, difficulty, setbacks, bankruptcy, loss of everything. Stripped of all of that, we can still find joy from the greatest joy-giver of all. Our precious God. May God bless you today—