Timoteo’s Fly Eye Kaleidoscope :: MK Ministry Lesson 3 of 8

Kent Shaffer —  May 14, 2008

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.

What seems small to you can make a big difference to someone else.

The Intangible
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.

The Tangible
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.

For Discussion:
- What are some little things that you have found make big impacts?

Kent Shaffer

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I live in an RV with my wife and 2 kids and work with OpenChurch.com to help Christians collaborate and build a global Church library of free, open content.

4 responses to Timoteo’s Fly Eye Kaleidoscope :: MK Ministry Lesson 3 of 8

  1. At my church we do an Adopt A Block ministry. We go out to low income areas and try to meet the needs of people.

    The thing that brings people to church more than handing out free stuff is just by talking and praying with them. Most of the people in the neighborhoods where we go end up there because life has been rough on them.

    Taking a few minutes to ask them how they are doing and praying for their needs has a HUGE impact.


  2. I just finished reading The Tipping Point, which only amplifies your point of the power and potential of “little things.” Seems like God may be trying to get my attention!

    One thing I’m finding can make a huge difference is the power of a simple thank you. An email, or even better a hand-written letter, can go so far in making a volunteer feel valued and appreciated. It’s such a simple thing, but can make such a big difference.

    Thanks for the post!

  3. Right on the money, Kent. Here’s a few of the little things at the top of my list:

    Learning a person’s name and using it often. A person’s name is the sweetest sound in their ears. “Wow! He/she remembers me!”

    Offering to pray for a person right then and there when they mention a concern.

    Remembering birthdays and sending a greeting.

    Recognizing accomplishment or effort, especially before a person’s peers.

    Thanking a person, especially for volunteer service. I thank many people each Sunday for serving in their respective area of ministry.

  4. Kevin Shorter May 15, 2008 at 11:52 am

    Keith, I enjoy reading your blog. I find that you have great insight incorporated with research. This post is wonderful. I have been in ministry and am now in marketing, so I enjoy seeing churches being professional and portraying effort in all they do. This post reminds us of the importance of the heart, interacting with people, and living our lives for Christ.

    Marketing is great. A spirit-filled life changes lives.