The Influence of the Small

The Influence of the Small


16 July 2017 | Vicar Writes

The Influence of the Small

By Terry Wong

“The Kingdom of the smallest of all seeds, but when it has grown it is larger than all the garden plants…” Jesus in Matthew 13:32

The G20 nations have been meeting the past week. We ask whether the lives of every citizen on planet Earth is being affected by a meeting comprising a small group of leaders. After all, they are all very human, shaped by their own culture, experience and background, which is always way too small when it comes to the complexity of our world today. The ignorance sometimes is at a very basic level: a first world leader thought that PM Lee is the President of Indonesia! 

They do have a role. Perhaps they can slow down the the rate of increase in our sea water levels (a possible challenge for our future), reduce the chance of more violent conflicts in our region, or make decisions that could improve our business environment, thus improving our personal capital. Perhaps. 

But one thing we can be very certain about is that the factors that will influence your life the most will be those around you: your family, your friends, fellow members in church, etc. In a globalised world dominated by the media, we are sometimes led to think that the ordinary John Doe (or Ahmad?) has no real influence or importance in this world. To really have influence, you have to do big things or be big yourself. 

Wrong. History, if we are to examine it carefully, showed that individuals can have real influence, even if the person is not important to the media or of any public interest. 

Consider: “The greatest of these is love”, St Paul proclaimed in 1 Cor 13:13. Indeed it is, in this life and forevermore. The love you show to another and vice versa, will have lasting consequences. All the political systems, may it be a state-driven (communism, socialism) or capital-driven (capitalism), find their limitations because the timeless reality is that for individuals, families and communities, it is love which matters most. 

Here is why we need to remind ourselves that the church community - and the values we share together - matters. And love, in the smallest of areas, matter. How we truly love Christ and one another, everything that we seek to do as a church, be it evangelism, missions or worship, will have lasting fruitfulness. When we are connected to each other, able to hold each other accountable, value friendship as much as tasks and doing work as a
team, we are being a people as God has created. 

In other words, let’s make Cathedral a safe place for everyone seeking for acceptance and true love. Let’s ensure that ministry springs out of community, instead of fracturing it. Community before tasks, not the other way round. And yes, community before missions. It is a rich Christ-filled community that will truly change the world. An apostle or missionary is a “sent one” precisely because a community is behind every missionary endeavour. 

After all, didn’t Jesus Himself say, “By this shall all man know you are my disciples…if you love each other as I have loved you.” (John 13:34,35)?      

G20 decisions may not change the world. But we can.