A Fraction of the Action

by Andy Wood on October 21, 2009

in Esteem, Five LV Laws, Insight, Life Currency, Principle of Increase, Principle of Legacy, Words

arrow puzzle“You have a role in all this,” Dave told me.

“This” is the church he now serves as pastor, the people he loves daily and weekly, the legacy of faith he is building in this eastern New Mexico town.

Dave went on (this is my paraphrase):  “You were there at a time in my life when I thought ministry was over, that I had nothing left to offer, and that nobody wanted me.  You helped me see the possibilities of how God could continue to use me.  So every time the Lord does something good here, you have a fraction of the action.”

I was humbled and blessed by his insight.  But I also know I am not alone.  Woven into Dave’s life and ministry is a tapestry of influences, examples, and sources of wisdom, encouragement, instruction, and hope.

I also know that my life and work represent the same kind of tapestry.  Maybe I do have a fraction of the action in Dave’s life and work.  But so does the church I serve in Lubbock, where every week I receive encouragement and support from a group of people who passionately love God, support our vision, and speak into my life.

Friends, family, and encouragers have a fraction of the action.  Those who have shared insights, confronted my blind spots, or shared how God was working in their lives have helped me share those same insights with Dave and others.  And so it goes….

Trinity Church in Lubbock has a fraction of the action.  By demonstrating for me that grace works for pastors, too, they empowered me to share that message with Dave and hundreds of others in 45 states and provinces (that I know of).

My pastor, Fred Wolfe, has a fraction of the action.  By teaching me the high cost of bitterness, and the surpassing value of forgiveness – and by reminding me that even when I lost everything, I still had Jesus and still had a choice – he helped forge a message that grew out of a broken and restored life.

Who Saved 2 Billion People?

Andy Andrews, in his book The Noticer, describes a similar phenomenon.  Norman Bourlaug was 91 years old when he was informed that his work was responsible for saving the lives of 2 billion people.  By hybridizing corn and wheat for dry climates, he helped stave off starvation in Central and South America, Western Africa, across Europe and Asia the plains of Siberia, and the American Southwest.

And yet, for all the credit he received, maybe it should be given instead to Henry Wallace, former Secretary of Agriculture, and then Vice President under Roosevelt.    Wallace used his office to create a station in Mexico whose sole purpose was to somehow hybridize corn and wheat for arid climates; he hired a young man named Norman Bourlaug to run it.

Or maybe it was George Washington Carver who is responsible for saving 2 billion people.  When he was 19, and a student at Iowa State University, he had a dairy sciences professor who allowed his own six-year-old boy to go on botanical expeditions every weekend with this brilliant student.  Carver directed the life passion of that little boy – Henry Wallace – and gave him a vision of what he could do with plants to help humanity.

Or maybe it was a farmer in Diamond, Missouri named Moses, who lived in a slave state with his wife Susan, but didn’t believe in slavery.  One cold winter night, Quantrill’s Raiders attacked Moses and Susan’s farm.  They burned the barn, shot several people, and dragged off a woman named Mary Washington – who refused to let go of her infant son, George.  Since Mary was Susan’s best friend, Moses sent out word to arrange a meeting to do whatever he could to get Mary and George back.  And on a cold January night, Moses traded his only horse to four of Quantrill’s masked men for what they threw him in a burlap bag.  Moses opened the bag and pulled a cold, naked, near-dead baby boy.  Walking that baby home, Moses promised him he would take care of him and raise him as his own, including giving the boy his name.  And that is how Mary Washington’s boy became George Washington Carver.

So who helped save 2 billion people through agriculture?  Norman Bourlaug.  But many other people had a fraction of the action.

The point:  Never, never, never assume that what you offer is of no value or of little consequence.  And never give in to the lie that what you do is insignificant in the larger scheme of things.  The difference you make in one life is a difference that can touch, well… billions.

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