Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's hard to believe that one life can change the world.

I know I have trouble believing it sometimes, but it's true. The story of George Bailey in It's a Wonderful Life is the perfect example. He thought his life meant so little, when in reality it meant so much to so many people. He saved his brother, who saved a transport of men; he helped hundreds of people just by believing in them and giving them a chance. He recognized evil for what it was and refused to compromise, even though he was offered a great deal of money.

I like George Bailey. I like what he stands for and I wish there were more people like him. If one man in particular--a well-known Christian leader--had simply picked up the telephone and called my father, it would have spared my family and so many others a world of grief. If one publishing executive had refused to be greedy, another family might have been spared bitter betrayal, and the lies of Preterism--the modern day Hymenaeus and Philetus--would have been denied a public pulpit. If a young mother had refused to commit adultery, two little boys would be alive today.

A man coveting someone else's life; a father leaving his family for another woman; a wife caring more for herself than for her husband and children. It goes on and on--the litany of joy and despair--all because one life matters.

A human being has enormous power at his or her fingertips: one of the deadliest weapons of the satanic realm pierces the heart and whispers, "You are nothing. You don't matter."

Thousands of years of history point to the fact that one life does matter. Jesus . . . Abraham . . . Galileo . . . Martin Luther . . . Marie Curie . . . Albert Einstein . . . endless names in the history of mankind.
The dad who works countless hours to provide for his family; the mom who reads every night to her little ones and stays home to raise them, even though money is tight. Who can know the full beauty or disgrace of one life except the Lord? We can only guess at it--but the fact remains it is there.

One life does matter. One life can change the world. Every single one of us embraces this God-given power . . . or rejects it. The mystery of God's sovereignty touches all, but thrown into the mix is the fickle heart of man.

Clarence (the angel): "Your brother, Harry Bailey, broke through the ice and was drowned at the age of nine."

George Bailey: "That's a lie! Harry Bailey went to war - he got the Congressional Medal of Honor, he saved the lives of every man on that transport."

Clarence: "Every man on that transport died! Harry wasn't there to save them, because you weren't there to save Harry . . . . Strange, isn't it? Each man's life touches so many other lives. When he isn't around he leaves an awful hole, doesn't he?"

When God said, "Love your neighbor as yourself" maybe it was because He knew just how powerful that love would be.

In the scheme of this fallen world, one life made all the difference.


JohnD said...

Hi Jill,

Your comments and insights are always so thought provoking. Here's the thought you provoked:

George Bailey was given the gift of seeing life in Bedford Falls had he never been born.

Suppose George Bailey was Judas Iscariot in the story plot whose absence would have changed the course of history and eternity.

Hear me out.

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! IT HAD BEEN GOOD FOR THAT MAN IF HE HAD NOT BEEN BORN.

Imagine no cross if there were no betrayer.

Though salvation is not universal, all things in the universe play some role in salvation. For example, an atheist ancestor served as a link in the human chain to bring forth heirs who would believe in Christ.

So, even crotchety old Mr. Potter served a role that would have changed the course of life in Bedford Falls had he never been born.

5:39 AM  
JohnD said...

It does shed some light on being thankful in all situations and for all things, does it not?

5:42 AM  
Jill Martin Rische said...

Yes, it does. I still like the analogy of a tapestry; we are all threads of different colors, textures and lengths, but God is the weaver.

9:32 PM  

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