Wednesday, February 14, 2007

One flake at a time

I could actually see the snow flakes this morning, not very many, but they were big enough to see. Since it was in the 50's most of the day yesterday the snow didn't stick to anything--it melted on contact. For snow to stick today (it's 22 degrees right now) there would have to be alot of it--probably a couple of inches would have to fall and melt in order to cool the ground enough for it to stick.

Have you every thought about those first millions of snowflakes that have to melt to prepare the way for the others to stick? It's not the wind, or even the temperature, but rather the effect of literally millions of snowflakes hitting the ground and melting, but as they melt each one cools the ground a tiny bit. With enough snowflakes hitting, the ground cools to the point that they stick. If snowflakes were people we could use the image of them giving their lives so that others might live.

A local church should operate in much the same way--each Christian has an impact on the people around him or her and the effect of those impacts eventually cause that person to want to know more about the Christ that motivates the Christian. Ideally, each person is impacted by more than one Christian and comes to realize that it's not just "Joe" or "Sue", but everybody that goes to this "church". Rather than cooling people the impact of Christians should warm them.

I baptized a man recently who has lived a rough life--drag racing, alcohol, etc. I know why he asked me to baptize him but his change was much more the effect of many Christians than of anything I had done. Certainly his wife, who is a Christian, had the greatest effect on him, but in explaining it he told me, "I enjoy going to church, listening to the teaching, and just being there." Everybody receives him well, including his in-laws, and it has had the intended effect on him. Those millions of little things--greetings, good sermons, just accepting him where he is, paved the way for him to make changes in his life. His parents are very strong members of a denomination and harp at him every chance they get, but that has had little effect, compared with the effect of the local church.

Most of us don't live in a small community where outsiders see that all the members of this church are good people, who have a good life and so the cumulative effect is blunted. But brethren, if we will live as we should--going the extra mile consistently, people around us will notice and at least some of them will want to know why. Your first actions may seem to have the same effect that the first snowflakes have--none at all, but if the heart is honest over time they will have an effect.


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