by Heather Bock
Yesterday I posted a question on Facebook: “Besides the Bible, what book was influential in the way you think? Maybe even life-changing?” I was blown away by the number of people who responded and the fact that many of them couldn’t narrow it down to just one. Of course, I recognized quite a few titles and authors, including One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, Crazy Love by Francis Chan, and The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren. However, I was surprised by how many I had never heard of before.
As an aspiring published author, I am painfully aware of how many books exist in the world. I wonder if my own Bible study will ever come to anything beyond what God has done with it so far. Sometimes I despair of my blog posts making any difference at all. After all, like those who noted famous authors having influenced their way of thinking, I also have been inspired and challenged by name-brand books. What’s the point? If I don’t write, those who read blog posts and work through Bible studies will just learn from the Beth Moores and C.S. Lewises of the world.
Crying out to God, asking Him whether I should just give up on this whole endeavor, I hear His reply. He encourages me, tells me to keep on in the little places. He might send me a message from someone who has been inspired by a line or two of mine. Perhaps He points out a subscriber who might never hear His voice any other way. He may direct my eyes to statistics from my tiny blog: views from 75 different countries in the past month, some of which I’ve never heard (where in the world is Brunei, and why did that person who lives there end up on my site?), others in places where the gospel is severely limited.
Then I look at that list of influential books from little-known authors that my friends posted on my feed, and I think, God can use my words after all, just as He used all these others. It just takes one person using the voice and message God gave. Even the well-known authors are simply single people, stepping out to write the words God gave them to write.
I am reading Ann Voskamp’s The Broken Way, and in a story she relays, I realize it doesn’t even take the written word to influence. It doesn’t even take a well-educated voice. Ann writes about her youngest daughter speaking words that explode an idea in her head, an idea that colors the world a new shade, moves her to a new perspective. She writes the words and spreads the message far and wide. Many are changed.
You don’t have to be a writer to change lives with the words God has given you. You don’t even have to be a good speaker. You might change lives through your simple actions, through a kind look as you notice one not normally noticed, or through a small gift given. Nothing is small to God.
In front of 5,000 hungry men, not including their wives and children, Jesus took the five small loaves given by a young boy, “and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted” (Jn. 6:11).
He takes our small offerings given with love and sacrifice and multiplies them far beyond what we could imagine.