My work day had concluded, and I made the short commute from the office in our home to the front porch. Mary was sitting there, watching over the water play of two of our grandchildren. Our two youngest; Juni, our 3-year-old, and Mack at nearly two.
They had filled a clear storage tub with water and were delighting in hopping in and out. But the fascination soon subsided and quickly they shifted their attention to moving rocks from our corner landscaped area into the tub. One at a time. Each trip rewarded with a corresponding splash. And each trip accompanied with joy as the rocks made their way to the bottom of the transparent tub.
Juni and Mack had no difficulty maintaining their attention when it came to this new activity. Back and forth they went. Sometimes it was nothing more than a pebble; other times it was a rock the size of their hands.
We watched with interest and joy, until Mary wisely noted that it was time for a warm bath and bed. Reluctantly, they complied.
My task, at this point was to pour the water from the tub and return the rocks to their rightful, and aesthetically pleasing location. With the water drained, I bent over to hoist the tub and carry it to the corner. To my surprise, I couldn’t lift it. Not an inch off the ground.
With less patience than my grandkids, I moved the rocks in front of me… but as I did, I was struck by the reality that a three-year-old and a two-year-old had produced an object too heavy for me to move.
Let that sink in.
Let it sink in when you question whether one small act of mercy or justice or kindness or grace will make a difference in a vast sea of hatred and brokenness.
Let it sink in when you feel as though one small comment about the love of Jesus is insignificant or meaningless or hopeless… a pebble.
Capture this vision when you think about an apology you need to make that feels trite or trivial or unnecessary against the blaring headlines of blame and self-righteousness.
Tug this visual to mind when you feel small or weak or insignificant.
One small rock. One. On top of one more. Matched with somebody else’s small stone…
And with patience, persistence, perseverance, grit, and teamwork, something significant is created. Something immovable. Something righteous and just and good.
The strength of a grown adult was no match for the collective work of two tiny hands and feet.
Is your act of mercy too small? Is your contribution too tiny?
Not a chance.
One small act of courageous obedience after another, and before long something immovable.
Find a rock. Find a pebble. Do the next right thing. Small. Unnoticed. Insignificant.
But the right thing. Do it. Lift it. Move it. Make it splash. Then go get another rock.
This is not only “a way” to make a difference, it is “the way” to make a lasting and sustainable difference. One small, God-honoring act at a time.
“He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the LORD require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)
One small stone at a time.
Dan Wolgemuth is President/CEO of Youth For Christ. Youth For Christ has been a pillar of missional ministry since 1944, when the Rev. Billy Graham served as YFC’s first full-time staff member. Since then, Youth For Christ has continued to be both a rural and urban ministry on mission, and always about the message of Jesus.