There is no such thing as a small thing. There is no act of kindness, no act of passivity, no act of aggression that has little or no consequence. Every action makes waves. And waves build more waves.
Life is maybe a bit like being on a trampoline. With a bit of effort, one can jump pretty high. Add another person to the trampoline and things start to get interesting. Time the jump right and one can launch even higher. Time the jump wrong and one might launch off the side out of control. Add 7.6 billion people (current UN estimate as of May 2018) and things get quite exciting. It is impossible to be on a trampoline with that many people and not have interactions, for better or for worse, with humanity.
Personalizing this, I ask, “What is the most meaningful that I can do today?” Knowing bumps and bruises in life will happen, knowing that success is fleeting and taking into account my talents, passions and experiences, it is a tough question to answer. And I think it is a good question to consider. Another way to form the question is this: Where do I want to leave my footprints and handprints?
Footprints are the evidence that I traveled places. I love traveling and exploring. I want to see mountains and valleys, deserts and cities and everything in between. I want to taste foods and hear music of every culture. I find all that so fascinating. There is much to learn from other cultures and countries. I want to leave footprints as evidence that I experienced everything.
Handprints are the evidence that I impacted a life. Handprints are far superior to footprints. As much as I want to travel, I want more than anything to leave handprints everywhere I go. I want to see sight restored, to communicate hope to the hopeless and to give dignity to the oppressed. My resources are limited — these are impossible tasks. How can I do this? What is impossible for me is entirely possibe for the great I am. Our heavenly Father is not limited, and he empowers me, you and the church for his work.
Paul reminded the church in 1 Corinthians 3:7-9, “It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow. The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work. For we are both God’s workers. And you are God’s field. You are God’s building.”
Jesus taught his disciples to leave handprints. He said in Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world — like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.”
Remember, every small thing makes a difference. Every encouraging word, every smile, every act of service and kindness matters. How do we leave handprints? We start with what we know, and we start today. Church, we are the hands and feet of Jesus, taking the hope of Christ to all the earth.
Cody Haar is an associate pastor of Cornerstone Church.