It can be easy in the mundane parts of our lives to forget our significance. Especially in these times, we often forget that continually showing up and being there for people makes more of a difference than we realize. I want to share a story I heard recently:
A man was asked to paint a boat. He brought his paint and brushes and began to paint the boat a bright red, as the owner asked him. While painting, he noticed a small hole in the hull, and quietly repaired it. When he finished painting, he received his money and left.
The next day, the owner of the boat came to the painter and presented him with a nice check, much higher than the payment for painting.
The painter was surprised and said, “You’ve already paid me for painting the boat, Sir!”
The owner replied, “But this is not for the paint job. It’s for repairing the hole in the boat.”
“Ah! But it was such a small service,” the painter said. “Certainly it’s not worth paying me such a high amount for something so insignificant.”
“My dear friend, you do not understand,” the owner replied. “Let me tell you what happened:
When I asked you to paint the boat, I forgot to mention the hole. When the boat dried, my kids took the boat and went on a fishing trip. They did not know that there was a hole. I was not at home at that time. When I returned and noticed they had taken the boat, I was desperate because I remembered that the boat had a hole. Imagine my relief and joy when I saw them returning from fishing. Then, I examined the boat and found that you had repaired the hole! You see, now, what you did? You saved the life of my children! I do not have enough money to pay your ‘small’ good deed.”
I think what we can learn from this story is that no matter who, when or how, we need to continue to help, sustain, wipe tears, listen attentively, and carefully repair all the ‘leaks’ you find. You never know when one is in need of us, or when God holds a pleasant surprise for us to be helpful and important to someone.
Along the way, you may have repaired numerous ‘boat holes’ for several people without realizing how many lives you’ve saved. The difference you make in people’s lives is not contingent on your ability to see the work being done. In fact, most of the time, you’ll never see the effects of your investment in people’s lives but I can assure you of this: you make more of a difference than you realize!