Just a hint of Jesus...

Lately, there seem to be a lot of people wanting to make an impact on this world for Jesus. Leadership gurus are wanting to impact the church.  Student leaders, who evidently live 24/7, are mobilizing to impact the next generation.  I've even heard certain artists who are writing or singing or something to impact the culture.  

Now I'm a word guy; in other words, I believe words mean things.  So I looked up this six-letter arrangement to clarify the definition: to collide forcibly with; to strike.  I then checked some related words: concussion, hammering, onslaught, ramming, sideswipe, tremor, wallop, and who could resist whomp. Now, in the interest of fairness, there are related words that ring all nice and smart like etch or imprint, but great horny toads - they don't stand much of a chance next to mauling.

Go ahead.  Take some of those related words and put them in the place of "impact" - 
Leadership gurus really want to ram the church...Student leaders are mobilizing to maul the next generation...you see where this is going.

I don't believe Jesus wants us to do this.  I really don't.

Do you know the words trace or whiff or hint or brush?  For example - "Jimmy slumped in right field, one cleat on top of the other, close to the fence.  Not a single ball came his direction all evening. But the fence was lined with honeysuckle, the whiff of which reminded him of the girl who now sat in front of him in homeroom.  She had just moved to town from Magnolia and smiled at Jimmy in the hallway.  Jimmy liked playing right field."  

Now, I'm gonna bet my boots you've got a story or two or three where the slightest trace or hint of someone or something left you undone; could be it haunts your memory even today. Maybe it's coming across the hint of your father's aftershave in a department store.  He ran off five years ago but that hint causes you to break down in Macy's like a baby.  Or possibly it was when the dog brushed against your legs and your wife said "It's a boy." You'll forever associate that beagle's tail with the best day of your life.  Or how about a trace, just a trace of half-n-half that causes ordinary scrambled eggs to be the envy of Cracker Barrel.

I believe that's what Jesus wants us to do.  Leave hints or traces or whiffs of grace and mercy and forgiveness, words that mean something, in the lives of those both near and far.

But John, you say, what about the incident when Jesus wove a rope and got busy turning over the tables of the money changers?  That was quite impactful, wasn't it?  Yeah, I know; it's in there, so it counts.  But I wonder sometimes if after the onslaught, Jesus sighed and chuckled to himself, "I'm not so sure what good that did."  And maybe that chuckle came to mind when Peter drew his sword in the garden and whomped off that fella's ear and Jesus said, "Easy there, Pete" and then he put that ear right back where it came from, just like that...a little hint of miracle before the mob made their impact.         



  1. I believe that we're constantly trying to box up Jesus into what we can wrap our minds around. Words like "impact" really jazz up the crowd and make us feel maybe just a little more important than, perhaps "filthy-ragged loser, but for grace". He's done the work for us in so many ways, if we'll just take a tender moment and allow His gentleness to be evident to all.

    As always...you leave me chewing on something. Something good.

  2. As always, makin' me think and makin' such sense.

    I'm so glad that I get to park my truck here at the Shame.

    I love that Jesus man, impacts in the temple or whiffs of miracles. He's good stuff.

  3. I love this imagery John! I recently heard someone say that, "we need to be the aroma to the bread of life." Aroma. Just a whiff of that, and they just seem to keep coming back for more.

  4. I prefer impact. This is why.

    Impact can be purposeful. You just have to know how to do it.

  5. I love your writing man, the way you experience God is beautiful.

    Its funny cause I like the word "impact" but have used it without knowing its full expression.

    I have experienced Gods love in both a "whiff" and a "forceful collision." Oddly enough, at the same time. He has been both Sanctuary and Consuming Fire.

    But I hear ya, I think in the absence of a revelation of Love, "impact" is a scary word.

    So here is to using it properly from now on...

    Bless ya man!

  6. These are great thoughts!

  7. There is humility and release in what you're saying. It's not my world: it's not mine to impact. Giving up my desire to make an impact, to leave my mark, takes faith and hope in the God who is changing everything via the aroma of Christ.

  8. Thank you for your words. I am undone by the story.

    I am reminded that story is gorgeous and powerful and respectful.

    I grew up learning that the Holy Spirit is a gentleman. The Holy Spirit does not come uninvited.

    Thank you so much!

  9. We were 'walloped' right out of church when we were young. Took the 'wooing' of His Spirit to overcome the fear and to pluck up enough courage to tear down the emotional wall we had built.

    Reminds me of the story where the winds challenges the sun to see who could remove the mans coat ... the winds ferocious blowing caused him to pull it around him tighter; the suns gentle shining had him desiring to remove his coat to soak up its warmth and goodness.

    Way to go. Love your ordering of words and how they create such heart chocolate for me.

  10. It was well into a sleepless night while I was wrestling with my non-impact in the world that I began to feel God settling in me the rather unquantifiable, risky and potentially beautiful desire to Haunt the world with His presence, rather than whack it. I appreciate your words deeply my friend.

  11. I sure enjoyed this, John. In fact, I have posted and linked to it from my blog. Thanks very much.