Wisdom Throws a Pebble
Though we had to tromp through snow to get to the creek beside our house, I decided today would be a good day to introduce our youngest grandchild to the thrill of throwing pebbles off the bridge into the water. Through the years, all our grandchildren have enjoyed this little adventure. This afternoon little Colette held two pebbles in her tiny hand, I held one in my wrinkling hand—and on the count of three, we heaved them off the bridge and into the water, with a splat and a plunk. As the pebbles dropped to the bottom and out of sight, we could only see the ripples that they produced. Where those ripples traveled, I have no idea. The little creek next to our house ebbs and flows…sometimes swiftly and sometimes barely moving—but eventually meets a river (I think the Ipswich) which flows into the Atlantic. As we watched the ripples fade out of sight I thought of the scripture from the book on wisdom, Ecclesiastes 11:1, 5-6:
Cast your bread upon the waters, for after many days you will find it again…
As you do not know the path of the wind, or how the body is formed in a mother’s womb, so you cannot understand the work of God, the Maker of all things.
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let not your hands be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
Colette (Coco) is a tiny, precious little two-year-old, and I’m a not-so-tiny almost 65-year-old. There was nothing strong or eventful about our throws, and our pebbles were small. But we threw them—and the ripples began. Like the small pebbles, we never know where our seemingly small actions will take the ensuing ripples as we strive to follow Jesus—through good deeds, prayer, words of encouragement, sharing our testimony, and sharing the Scriptures. The energy of the Spirit of God carries the ripples from our meager pebbles in ways and to places we cannot imagine.
This week I received an email from Don Lee, a dear friend we met while in our twenties and leading a campus ministry in Raleigh, North Caroline. We certainly lacked experience and expertise, but we had a whole lot of faith in our great God. Don was a student at Duke University who became a Christian during this time. Every year without fail, for the past forty-two years, he has called Wyndham on the anniversary of his baptism into Christ to thank him for sharing Jesus with him—for “throwing that pebble.” He gave me permission to share his note:
Wyndham, I’ve been mulling over for several days how to express my gratitude to you for studying the Bible with me 43 years ago. I’ll never forget that time. I was a shy, unconfident, fearful, and empty young man in my freshman year at Duke University. My sister Nancy, ‘set me up’ to meet you and study the Bible. Each week I’d make the drive from Durham to Raleigh and meet you at the Brooks Avenue church of Christ. Your piercing eyes would see right through me. I felt exposed, but, at the same time accepted by you. Your patience in walking each step of my new spiritual journey with me was essential.
At one point I said, “Let’s get me baptized.” Instead of being fired up about my decision, you dug deeper to make sure I had dealt with some issues with my family being Lord of my life before Jesus. I’m so thankful you risked our relationship to help me get over this obstacle. There’s no way I could have persevered for this long without being tested early on. Jeanie, thank you for your weekly WWW (Wednesday Wisdom with Wyndham) blog. Since the time Wyndham studied with me so many years ago, I’ve only gotten to follow Wyndham from afar. All that you’ve shared (as well as so many others’ contributions) make me wish that I could have been around you more!
One of the recent blogs (#88 Wisdom Overlooks) helped me so much. As many will testify, your legacy and impact reach far and wide. While most of the ministries you have been in are on the east coast (FL, NC, WV, MA), few people realize the worldwide impact. That small NC campus ministry included Douglas Arthur (London), Douglas Jacoby (global Teacher), and Gary Knutson (Johannesburg). Your legacy has reached to China as well. Other disciples from that NC ministry (Scott and Lynne Green and myself) went to China. God used the Greens to plant the Hong Kong church in 1997. There are now 27 churches with almost 4000 disciples in the China region. What more can I say? I think of you and Jeanie often. Your faith and courage to finish the fight inspire me. I love you. Thank you for sharing God’s word with me. Love, your Brother in Christ, Don
God’s Word is powerful. We just have to throw the pebbles. The Spirit of God will take the ripples from there—in mysterious and unimaginable ways.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:8-11)
Throw that pebble today, and by faith…wait for God to do more than you dare ask or imagine.