Anyone who has email communication will surely receive some that just make you stop and think.
I received one such email a couple of days ago which had a link to a YouTube film clip – and if you are able perhaps you’d like to watch it too.
In case you can’t, this short film illustrates the power of words to radically change your message and your effect upon the world. It was made by an online marketing company, but through the power of YouTube, it has received over 5 million hits.
It portrays a man sitting on the ground in front of the steps of a large building in a busy city, begging. He has a small sign which reads, ‘I’M BLIND, PLEASE HELP’.
Some of the passers-by throw a few coins in the direction of his tin. Then a young woman comes along, she stops, picks up his sign, turns it over and writes something on the back. As she is writing, the man touches her shoes; I suppose in order to get an idea of who this person was. She then replaces the sign next to the man and continues on her way.
During the course of the day, many more people pass by, but now the number people who stop and amount of coins they give has grown considerably. The young woman then returns at the end of the day and stops in front of the man – he recognises her by her shoes and asks, ‘What did you do to my sign?’. She replies, ‘I wrote the same, but different words’. What did she write? – ‘IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY AND I CAN’T SEE IT.
What a difference the right words can make!
As I write this, we are in the midst of Holy Week, and it is hard to see beyond the darkness of the crucifixion. What we do know is that Easter Day will happen again, as it does every year; yet the disciples of Jesus on that first Easter morning were still totally in the dark.
It took just a few words of Jesus – ‘Peace be with you’ and ‘Do not be afraid’ – to lift the darkness and make them realise that He was no longer dead, but had been raised – and now he had work for them to do
Then we get those last verses in Matthew’s Gospel – words of Jesus which we now refer to as ‘The Great Commission’ – which say, “Go, then, to all peoples everywhere and make them my disciples: baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. And I will be with you always, to the end of the age.”
These words had the power to comfort, to move and encourage the disciples – and they are made more powerful because of what happened to Jesus. Whilst they make a suitable ending to Matthew’s Gospel, they are words meant to encourage us, as modern day disciples, each time we read them.
In the wake of Easter Day, our task is not just to slip back into our comfortable lives, waiting for the next festival on the Christian Calendar to come along. Our task – our commission – is to spread the good news of redemption and resurrection – and we do that however we are able to. It’s not something that we can leave to anyone else – Jesus calls each one of us to live as Easter people – to inspire, encourage, and inform those we meet on the road of life.
And if we’re worried about not having the right words to say – let Jesus be the one who puts his words into your mouth, because they will always be just the ones you need.
Yours in Christ,