Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freedom From Being Impacted

Impacted. Impactful. Impacting.

This word speaks of a medical condition that all of us want to avoid. And it speaks of something that has wearied me for many years now--the belief that Christians have to figure out ways to make large IMPACTS upon their world. Ministries to children, youth, singles, marrieds and to the mature labor and strategize about how to have a big impact for Jesus. Nothing just a little bit impactful, but really impacting. Big time, big deal impact.

But, come on. Doesn't the weariness following point out that the beginning was flawed? I think we need to pause and consider our motive and method. The article below helps me do that--maybe it will for you, too. It's from a blog I have begun reading, thedirtyshame.blogspot.com, by John Blase. Have a look. It will likely impact you. Oops.

Lately, there seem to be a lot of people wanting to make an impact on this world for Jesus. Leadership gurus are wanting to impact the church. Student leaders, who evidently live 24/7, are mobilizing to impact the next generation. I've even heard certain artists who are writing or singing or something to impact the culture.

Now I'm a word guy; in other words, I believe words mean things. So I looked up this six-letter arrangement to clarify the definition: to collide forcibly with; to strike. I then checked some related words: concussion, hammering, onslaught, ramming, sideswipe, tremor, wallop, and who could resist whomp. Now, in the interest of fairness, there are related words that ring all nice and smart like etch or imprint, but great horny toads - they don't stand much of a chance next to mauling.

Go ahead. Take some of those related words and put them in the place of "impact" - Leadership gurus really want to ram the church...Student leaders are mobilizing to maul the next generation...you see where this is going.

I don't believe Jesus wants us to do this. I really don't.

Do you know the words trace or whiff or hint or brush? For example - "Jimmy slumped in right field, one cleat on top of the other, close to the fence. Not a single ball came his direction all evening. But the fence was lined with honeysuckle, the whiff of which reminded him of the girl who now sat in front of him in homeroom. She had just moved to town from Magnolia and smiled at Jimmy in the hallway. Jimmy liked playing right field."

Now, I'm gonna bet my boots you've got a story or two or three where the slightest trace or hint of someone or something left you undone; could be it haunts your memory even today. Maybe it's coming across the hint of your father's aftershave in a department store. He ran off five years ago but that hint causes you to break down in Macy's like a baby. Or possibly it was when the dog brushed against your legs and your wife said "It's a boy." You'll forever associate that beagle's tail with the best day of your life. Or how about a trace, just a trace of half-n-half that causes ordinary scrambled eggs to be the envy of Cracker Barrel.

I believe that's what Jesus wants us to do. Leave hints or traces or whiffs of grace and mercy and forgiveness, words that mean something, in the lives of those both near and far.

But John, you say, what about the incident when Jesus wove a rope and got busy turning over the tables of the money changers? That was quite impactful, wasn't it? Yeah, I know; it's in there, so it counts. But I wonder sometimes if after the onslaught, Jesus sighed and chuckled to himself, "I'm not so sure what good that did." And maybe that chuckle came to mind when Peter drew his sword in the garden and whomped off that fella's ear and Jesus said, "Easy there, Pete" and then he put that ear right back where it came from, just like that...a little hint of miracle before the mob made their impact.


  1. Anonymous5:55 PM

    You mentioned the weariness that comes from always trying to find ways to impact the world for Jesus. Maybe part of that weariness comes from the guilt heaped on us for not having made a big impact. Guilt makes me tired and drains the life out of me. This blog opened my eyes to yet another source of false guilt. Thanks.