I've watched You've Got Mail about a bazillion times. It's one of those movies I'll watch over and over, and never tire of.
The last time I curled up to watch it was last fall. I sat on a picnic blanket, another quilt snuggled around me as I tried to convince myself an outdoor movie was a great idea, although the cool evening of an Indian Summer felt chillier than it had even the night before.
I got lost in the story of Kathleen Kelly and Joe Fox, as I always do...but my heart caught in my throat at one point in the movie.
A point that I'd never paused on before.
Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan) and Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) were typing back and forth to one another, when she stated with such quirky wisdom...
“Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when should’t it be the other way around?”
I stopped, wishing for a moment that I was home with a remote in my hand so I could rewind the statement and play it again. I felt at that moment, like this character: Do I live vicariously through books? Or perhaps through the lives of friends or even those I simply follow through social media?
I have friends both online and in real-life who are world-changers. If I listed them here, it'd go on and on and on. Actually, it'd probably read like the genealogy sections in the Bible. You know, the list of names you just kind of gloss over when your pastor asks you to turn to there once in a blue moon as he's teaching on who beget who and family lineage.
I'd like to know though, what are these amazing world-changing individuals' parents like? How did they instill that sort of bravery and countenance into their children? And how can I?
Were their parents world-changers too? Did they have big prayers as their children grew? Or did they perhaps travel extensively as a family?
I'd love to see a case-study on this sort of thing.
Remember the story of Jericho? You know, the one where God finally brought the Israelites into the Promised land, after roaming the desert for 40 years? The walls surrounding this bustling city looked high and thick, and therefore seemed unconquerable, it was even said that giants dwelled there.
They had to overtake this city and God did it by asking them to walk around it for six days. On the seventh, God told them to yell...and the walls came tumbling down.
It sounded like a crazy plan.
And yet Joshua and the rest of God's people bravely obeyed.
While scouting this fierce city, Joshua and a few of his men were hidden from Jericho's soldiers by a prostitute named Rahab. She too, led a small life...but acted bravely when a God whom she didn't even yet know, impressed something onto her heart. She said yes.
And you know what happened to that prostitute? She not only saved herself and her family when Jericho fell, but she is listed in Hebrews chapter 11, which is considered to be "The Faith Hall of Fame". In other words, the place where the writer of Hebrews acquaints us with an impressive list of heroic individuals from the Old Testament-- exceptional men and women whose stories stand out to encourage and challenge our faith.
Courageous Rahab married an Israelite named Salmon and had a son named Boaz. Yes as in Boaz, the husband of Ruth. The man who showed such grace and generosity and kindness to a widow with nothing but a bitter mother-in-law and a land which was not her own.
Rahab hid and therefore saved some of God's people and because of it, God saved she and her family. A harlot, a woman of ill-repute. An individual many wouldn't consider worth saving because she was so "lost".
No. We're never too lost or have done too much that the Lord wouldn't love us and have a purpose and plan for us.
Because of Rahab's bravery, she was spared and married a Godly man. She had a son named Boaz, whom she raised up to love the Lord with his whole heart and spirit and eventually married a woman of great character.
Stick with me for a second...
Ruth and Boaz had a son named Obed. And you know who Obed's son was? Jesse...the father of King David.
Do you see the significance here??
If we were face to face, I'd be jumping up and down on a couch like Tom Cruise on Oprah.
A woman with a small life married a man and had a son. That son married a widow whom I'm sure thought her life was also small. "Small yet, valuable", as Meg Ryan's character said. They had no idea their importance in history.
Because as we know, Jesus came from the family of King David.
They had no idea their actions in love and of bravery would make an impression on all of mankind for the rest of eternity.
Let us not think that our lives, just because they're small...aren't supremely significant.
We have no idea whose lives we will touch in the name of the Father.
Think of Billy Graham. He has led thousands upon thousands to Christ. God has used him immensely. But have you ever heard the name Dr. Mordecai Ham? I hadn't either. This humble evangelist led Billy to the Lord. And what of the one who shared Jesus with Dr. Ham?
Just like a family lineage or family tree, we can trace back those who made a significant impact on significant individuals.
We may never know the influence we have on someone...whether it be our children's lives...or someone we come into contact with. And we may never know (until perhaps heaven) the impact we will have had.
We may not live to see it, it may be laying a foundation for generations.
So carry on, friend.
May we raise up world-changers and be world-changers.
This doesn't mean we need to move across the globe...though how exciting if He would use us in that way! We can change the world from our own backyards, our own neighborhoods and communities. Our small lives CAN be valuable, if we pray for opportunities and bravery to do things outside our comfort zones.