One of the first things we noticed when we left the organized part of church is how small our lives was in comparison with the congregation we left behind. They do so much for the underprivileged. They have a large amount of resources. The pastors are honest and open people. They are very good leaders. The worship is top class. They excel in children’s ministry. They can reach a lot of people. Compared to them we are only a speck. Horton, are you there? 🙂 This comparison left us feeling useless. We had no function.
It all changed when God showed us that He is present in the everydayness of our lives. It revolutionized our small world. Gone was the comparison game. Jesus showed us that we can connect with people and become their friends. Somehow, sometime, He will begin to shine into their lives and we can walk a shared journey together. The question however remains. Will our small walk make a difference in the bigger scheme of things?
Perhaps this quote from Juan Carlos Ortiz will give some perspective.
Once an old woman in Argentina introduced me to a girl. “This is my granddaughter,” she said.
“Is that so?” I replied.
“Yes, I have great-grandchildren,” she said. “One of them is fifteen already, so if she marries soon I may even have great-great-grandchildren.”
“How many children did you have?” I asked.
“And now you have how many grandchildren?”
“And how many great-grandchildren?”
“Who knows?” she said. “I’ve never counted them.”
According to that proportion, she could have 216 great-grandchildren and 1,296 great-great-grandchildren!
Her family was quite impressive, too; one son was a doctor, another a lawyer, two were farmers, one was a taxi driver. Among her grandsons were engineers and many other professional people.
If I had asked her, “How did you manage such a large family—all these well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated people?” she would have replied, “I didn’t. I just took care of the six.”
Can we take care of six frienships over 30 years or so? I believe it is possible. Of course many people look at the quote from Juan and suddenly they have a formula on how to reach the world. Let’s start an comprehensive discipleship drive for christians to reach six people at a time and teach them how to be disciples. It won’t work. Discipleship is life flowing into life. It cannot be taught. I think Philip Yancey said it best.
Love…is not mathematical; we can never precisely calculate the greatest possible good to be applied equally to the world’s poor and needy. We can only seek out one person, and then another, and then another, as objects for God’s love.
You don’t need impressive credentials to be a friend. And as anyone will tell you with friendship. “A friend is never just a number.”