USA (MNN) — [James 1:22 tells us to be doers of the Word, and not hearers only. MNN’s Reagan Hoezee is living out this verse on a short-term mission trip to Philadelphia’s inner city. What follows is a post recently written by Hoezee for the team’s blog.]
It has been said that the smallest acts of kindness can leave the largest impact. I always believed this statement, but recently I experienced its powerful truth.
On Monday, our group was playing with kids at Nelson Park. I noticed one little boy struggling to tie his shoe, so I walked over and asked if he needed help. He nodded, so I showed him the shoe-tying method I learned when I was his age: make a loop with each string, then tie them together. He looked confused, or maybe just uninterested. Either way, I didn’t expect him to remember.
Fast forward to Wednesday. We had just returned to the park from the community pool. The same boy was removing his flip-flops and putting on his tennis shoes. I asked if he knew how to tie his shoes, and his response was surprising: “Yeah, you taught me how!” I had completely forgotten it was the same boy I had helped two days earlier. What I assumed was merely an expected, forgettable act of helpfulness turned out to be a meaningful extension of love. It was truly shocking.
Every night, upon returning from the inner-city back to the hotel, our group meets and discusses the day’s events, then hears a message from a Vision for Youth worker. During one session, VFY national director Tim Ahlgrim explained how nothing we do is going to bring large-scale change. A city can’t be transformed in a week. But, he said, that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference.
That single act of love, I thought, made a difference in the boy’s life. There was no profound spiritual impact, but he experienced the manifestation of God’s love. And that love, when it takes hold in the heart, can make all the difference.