Wisdom-Trek / Creating a Legacy
Welcome to Day 799 of our Wisdom-Trek, and thank you for joining me.
This is Guthrie Chamberlain, Your Guide to Wisdom
Small Things Can Have a Big Impact – Meditation Monday
Thank you for joining us for our five days per week wisdom and legacy building podcast. This is Day 799 of our trek, and it is time for Meditation Monday. Taking time to relax, refocus, and reprioritize our lives is crucial in order to create a living legacy.
For some, it may just be time alone for quiet reflection. Some may utilize structured meditation practices. In my life meditation includes reading and reflecting on God’s Word and praying. It is a time to renew my mind, refocus on what is most important, and make sure that I am nurturing my soul, mind, and body.
As you come along with me on our trek each Meditation Monday, it is my hope and prayer that you too will experience a time for reflection and renewing of your mind.
We are broadcasting from our studio at The Big House in Marietta, Ohio. Throughout the Scriptures, God uses the example of small things that have a great impact. Some of these are ants, the tongue, and a rudder on a ship. In language, changing just a single letter in a word in some instances can change the entire meaning. In today’s meditation, we will explore how our faith, even though it may be small can produce huge results.
Small Things Can Have a Big Impact
During Jesus’s ministry on earth, He talked about how important a person’s heart is. Mark 7:1-23 is just one example that we will review in a moment. The Jewish religious leaders had made all sorts of rules to be sure the people of God kept themselves ritually clean. Matthew and Mark placed Jesus’s words about the importance of the heart right before the events we will read about today. This sequence can help you see a key point Jesus made in His life. While Jesus’s earthly ministry was focused primarily on Jews, “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matthew [15:24]), He reached out to all kinds of people who were normally considered “unclean” by many fellow Jews.
Tyre and Sidon were places where old enemies of the Jewish people lived. Jesus’s very presence there, especially with His ministry to these non-Jews, was very shocking. Then Jesus traveled back to Decapolis or “the area of the Ten Cities,” another largely non-Jewish area on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus blessed, taught, and healed in this region just as He did in Tyre and Sidon.
The focus of Jesus’s work was once again on people’s hearts. Were they open and receptive? Were they seeking after God? Did they long for grace? Jesus’s focus was not on culture, nationality, or ethnicity. He was willing to help, bless, and be with people who His fellow Jews considered “unclean”!
This background of our scripture today is very important for you to know when we read the following story of the woman from Syrophoenicia. Jesus’s words are a little distorted by our modern translations because you can’t hear the subtle nuance of one letter. The little “i” in Greek makes a big difference and turns the word for a dog (kunaron) into the word for a puppy (kunarion) and changes Jesus’s words from an ugly ethnic slur into an invitation for faith.
Even today, so often people of different ethnic groups use slurs to dismiss the value of another person. Jesus used a play on words similar to an ethnic slur to invite the woman from Syrophoenicia to display both her wit and her faith. She was desperate and wanted help. She came expecting to be called a strange and mangy dog — the way many Jews would have referred to her and she would have referred to them.
However, Jesus took the term and softened it to mean puppy or lap dog — something that was often considered a part of the family. She instantly seized on this play on words. Instead of taking offense, she responded showing her heart: “O yes, Jesus, you are right. But in a family, the little puppies eat the crumbs that fall from the table!” She wasn’t just prostrating herself before Jesus; she came with her heart bowed down to receive His grace and help for her daughter!
She got it! Jesus wasn’t pushing her away, but inviting her in close if her faith could see through the fog of ethnic and cultural separation and suspicion. Thankfully, she did! She displayed incredible faith because she was determined to have Jesus’s powerful grace change her daughter’s condition.
After Jesus’s resurrection, He sent His disciples to share His message and His grace with every nation of the world and every ethnic group on the planet. Even though Jesus’s earthly ministry was primarily for the people of Israel, you can find many non-Jews brought to His table of grace and mercy. All of these people, Jews, and non-Jews had to do something if they were going to follow Jesus. They had to repent — change their hearts, minds, and behavior about how to live, and believe that Jesus came from the Father to bring them life.
So let me ask you this important question as I read Jesus’s story today. What would keep you from following Jesus? A supposed ethnic slur? A hard command? The challenge to change your cultural views? An unwillingness to leave your ethnic prejudice behind?
As hard as Jesus’s call to give up yourself and follow Him may seem, realize underneath it lays His great tenderness and love for you. He wants you to be like the daughter of the Syrophoenician woman: “whole and healthy”!
While each person must surrender his or her heart to Jesus in faith, He wants you to notice two things in the following two events Mark tells in the verses below.
First, someone who loves a person in need tries to show that person about Jesus. Faith becomes the key to unlocking God’s grace in the life of that other person! The woman in this story comes at a great social risk and gets Jesus’s help for her daughter. In the second event, a group of friends brought a person with deep needs to Jesus and begged Him to help. Without their urgency and their voice, the man with deep needs would not have had his hurts disclosed and his needs made known. What a wonderful example of a mother with courage and faith! What great friends of determination and faith!
Second, notice that the Father’s love, the love that Jesus’s actions demonstrate, is shared freely with all — man and woman, young and old, Jew and Gentile, regardless of region, culture, or nationality. Jesus’s love is available for all, but there will be times when you will need to put hands on your faith and help someone who feels helpless and alone to find her or his way to Jesus!
Then Jesus left Galilee and went north to the region of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know which house he was staying in, but he couldn’t keep it a secret. Right away a woman who had heard about him came and fell at his feet. Her little girl was possessed by an evil spirit, and she begged him to cast out the demon from her daughter.
Since she was a Gentile, born in Syrian Phoenicia, Jesus told her, “First I should feed the children—my own family, the Jews. It isn’t right to take food from the children and throw it to the dogs.”
She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
“Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.” And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone.
Jesus left Tyre and went up to Sidon before going back to the Sea of Galilee and the region of the Ten Towns. A deaf man with a speech impediment was brought to him, and the people begged Jesus to lay his hands on the man to heal him.
Jesus led him away from the crowd so they could be alone. He put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then, spitting on his own fingers, he touched the man’s tongue. Looking up to heaven, he sighed and said, “Ephphatha,” which means, “Be opened!” Instantly the man could hear perfectly, and his tongue was freed so he could speak plainly!
Jesus told the crowd not to tell anyone, but the more he told them not to, the more they spread the news. They were completely amazed and said again and again, “Everything he does is wonderful. He even makes the deaf to hear and gives speech to those who cannot speak.”
Jesus’s mission was to establish a new covenant, a new Israel which includes all nations and ethnic groups throughout the world. Today’s meditation clearly shows us how He reached these two gentiles and included them in God’s kingdom. We are also to go into all the world and spread the good news of Jesus to all. Although you may feel that your impact is small, it can ripple throughout the world. Shine the light into the world where God has placed you.
Next week we will continue our trek on Meditation Monday as we take time to reflect on what is most important in creating our living legacy. On tomorrow’s trek, we will explore another wisdom quote. This 3-minute wisdom supplement will assist you in becoming healthy, wealthy, and wise each day. Thank you for joining me on this trek called life. Encourage your friends and family to join us and then come along tomorrow for another day of our Wisdom-Trek, Creating a Legacy.
If you would like to listen to any of the past 798 daily treks or read the daily journal, they are available at Wisdom-Trek.com. You can also subscribe to iTunes and Google Play so that each day’s trek will be downloaded automatically.
Thank you so much for allowing me to be your guide, mentor, and most of all your friend as I serve you through the Wisdom-Trek podcast and journal.
As we take this trek together, let us always:
- Live Abundantly (Fully)
- Love Unconditionally
- Listen Intentionally
- Learn Continuously
- Lend to others Generously
- Lead with Integrity
- Leave a Living Legacy Each Day
I am Guthrie Chamberlain reminding you to Keep Moving Forward, Enjoy Your Journey, and Create a Great Day Everyday! See you tomorrow!