As I sat and pondered several days ago, I was questioning God as to what His purpose had been for our time in Numbulwar. As we face leaving a place that has become home for the last eighteen months, and a place we had hoped to be for a few more years yet, I have been struggling to come to terms with this change. Why Lord? Why leave now when we are just starting to recognise most of the faces on the street? Why leave now when I can finally eavesdrop on conversations and have some idea of what is being said around me? What has this time been for because I feel like we are leaving just when we are beginning to be of some use?
As my heart ached these questions, God reminded me of the story of the starfish on the beach. You have probably heard it. It’s a simple story of a man walking along the beach throwing starfish that had become stuck on the sand, back into the water. And when questioned about the point of his actions and the fact that he will never get them all back into the water, he comments, “But I made a difference for that one.” And as he throws another back into the sea, “I made a difference for that one too.”
The starfish story led me to reflecting upon the ones that we have made a difference for during our time in Numbulwar.
Providing a place of security for one in physical danger from her husband.
A listening ear, drink and cookie for others with broken hearts.
A Christian CD, Bible or DVD that speaks God’s truth into dark places or strengthens His people.
Food given to the hungry.
Transport given to those too frail or ill to walk.
A smile and a word of encouragement for one who very rarely receives such kindness.
These reflections are not to glorify us or our actions, but I was glad that in reflecting I was able to remember moments where we have possibly made a difference to those around us.
Jesus was a man who made a difference to the ones he met. It is true that as God’s son it was his sacrifice that enabled salvation to be possible for all mankind. He WAS deeply concerned about the BIG issues of life. But he was also concerned about the ones he met in the course of his day too. The bleeding lady, blind men, sick women and men, dead children… by curing them of their ailments He made a difference to each of their lives. The women caught in adultery and the Samaritan woman at the well, both were impacted by Jesus’ interactions with them.
In reflecting upon what has been, why we did what we did, and how we will start again in a new place… I think this revelation is helpful to remember. Jesus cared for those he met each day who had needs and he strove to meet them. It wasn’t all that He did, but it was a large part of His ministry. So for me, seeking to glorify God in my actions and words, in my little corner of the world, maybe showing love and compassion to those we encounter each day is a good place to start.