I spent part of my childhood as a missionary’s kid in Lima, Peru. In the early years, my parents taught Bible school classes at a mission. It was a big blue building with a courtyard for parking vehicles. Near the front gate were some stairs that led up to a small room with a couch and a kitchen. Attached to that was a much smaller room that was barely large enough to fit a mattress. This is where Timoteo lived with his wife and two children.
Timoteo was a Bible student but also worked at the mission as a groundskeeper and night watchman. He had come from the jungle with not much more than his family and a passion to study the Bible. Hoping to make life easier, we gave them clothes. But as a kid, I thought our gift was lacking something, so I added a bright yellow fly eye kaleidoscope. It wasn’t much. I won it years earlier with skee-ball tickets at a pizza joint. And all it did was multiply whatever you looked at into “hundreds” of images just like a fly’s eye.
It was a novelty trinket, but Timoteo loved it. He kept walking around the mission looking through it. Some people might consider it to be an insignificant piece of junk, but to Timoteo and his family, it was a treasure.
THE MINISTRY LESSON:
What seems small to you can make a big difference to someone else.
To a non-Christian, an authentic smile from a church parking lot attendant will probably make a bigger impact than the style of the worship music. Your next door neighbor is more likely to attend your church because you are friendly than because the sermon series is “cool.” Sometimes something as small as listening with genuine interest after asking someone about their day is enough to make their day.
According to Kids Against Hunger, a child dies every 2 seconds from malnutrition, starvation, and hunger-related diseases. It only costs $0.23 to buy a child a meal. According to Living Water International, a child dies every 15 seconds because of a lack of clean water. It only costs $0.98 to provide clean, safe water to one person for one year.
A little bit can go a long way.
In case you are wondering what happened to Timoteo, he eventually sold the fly eye kaleidoscope to raise money for ministry. He is a phenomenal Christian example to me. As a pastor, terrorists came to his church and demanded support. He refused. At gun point, they threatened to shoot him, his wife, and children. He said, “It does not matter. We are already dead in Christ.” The terrorists assumed he was crazy and left without harming anyone.
- What are some little things that you have found make big impacts?