Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:1-8 (NIV)
“By perseverance the snail reached the ark” C. H. Spurgeon.
I often wonder if what I’m doing is making a difference. Working with people is different to working with paper, poultry or plumbing. When you file a document, it’s filed. When you pluck a chicken, it’s ready to be eaten. And when you replace a washer in a tap, it stops dripping. It’s not the same with people. You can help someone and not know if you’ve helped them. You can say something and not know if you were heard. And you can give something and not know how it was received.
But here’s something to consider. Although it’s difficult to measure the influence you’re having on someone, don’t assume you’re not making an impact. Francois Mauriac said, “No love, no friendship can cross the path of our destiny without leaving some mark on it forever.” That’s encouraging to know, isn’t it? Your love, your friendship, is making a difference in the lives of the people with whom you rub shoulders every day.
We sometimes get disheartened in our relationships, don’t we? We assume that because we can’t see big changes in the way people respond to us that we’re making no impact at all. Nothing could be further from the truth. I recently heard about a scientist who hung a one ton iron sphere from a girder. Alongside the iron sphere he hung a small cork sphere about the size of a golf ball. He then set up an electrical mechanism that kept the cork sphere swinging slowly, repeatedly hitting the iron sphere. Amazingly, after several days of uninterrupted swinging the iron sphere, because of the impact of the small cork sphere, began to move, slowly at first, and then gathering momentum until its arc was quite wide.
Don’t give up. The cumulative effects of your love and friendship can be staggering. You may think your influence is small but if you’re persistent there can be a positive outcome.
Jesus taught this principle in the parable of the persistent widow (cf. Luke 18:1-8). There was once an unjust judge who cared nothing for people. A widow kept after him in her pursuit of justice. He ignored her, but she kept on and on at him. He finally capitulated and saw that she got the justice she deserved. So keep on loving others, stay the course, do the right thing. Your small influence can yield major results.