by Peter van Gorder
Some of us who have labored long and hard in various fields might wonder if we have made much of an impact. We might compare ourselves with other established works and be a bit envious or think that if we had just caught some golden boat of opportunity in the past we would now be lounging on some sandy tropical beach sipping Pina Coladas – that we would be seeing more results of our labors. We may feel a bit like the hand in the illustration of the hand being pulled out of the water and the water quickly filling the void that was left or the famous Japanese haiku of:
An old lily pond
A young frog jumps in. Splash!
Still, silence again.
Furu-ike/ ya/ kawazu/ tobi-komu/ mizu-no-oto
The interpretation being: You are the frog, your immediate world that you live in is your pond, the splash you make is the influence you have on your world, and the silence again is the return to the status quo after you are gone. Even in English we have the expression to picture our influence of ‘making a splash’.
I was pondering a bit about my own ‘legacy’ and on my previous life choices when I saw an award winning documentary (Searching for Sugar Man) of a singer that gave me an insight into how we may be surprised one day to discover how much we have affected others.
The Oscar-winning documentary Searching for Sugar Man tells the almost unbelievable story of a Mexican-American songwriter whose two early Seventies albums bombed in America, but who wound up finding a huge audience in Apartheid-era South Africa. Sixto Rodriguez had no idea he was a legend there until a group of fans found him on the Internet and brought him to the country for a series of triumphant concerts. – from Rolling Stones article by Andy Greene
The singer’s name is Sixto Diaz Rodriguez and is also known by Jesus Rodriguez. His story is that he released 2 albums in the US in the 70’s that flopped. Thinking he was a failure, he got a construction job, unaware that at the same time, he had become a big hit in South Africa and helped fuel the anti-apartheid movement – his albums sold ½ million, but he never saw the money. Though banned by the apartheid government at the time, he was more popular in South Africa than Elvis. Rodriguez was eventually discovered again and did a series of sold out concerts in South Africa and Australia. There was a gap pf 8 years, some concerts in Australia and then another gap of 17 years where as he said, ‘not much was happening, no calls, or anything’. That has all changed since the release of the documentary. Needless to say, he has given up his construction job, is now performing at sold-out performances, and working on his third album.
So how does this apply to us who are not musically talented? We may never be discovered in this world, like Emily Dickenson who had only 7 of her nearly 2,000 poems published in her lifetime or Vincent Van Gogh, who painted 900 paintings and 1,100 drawings and sketches only sold 1 painting (The Red Vineyard) while alive, but it’s important to remember that God doesn’t forget and that we will one day ‘reap what we have sown’. That phrase is usually used in a negative context – of crime not paying, but the same principle applies when we sow and show love to help those in need.
We can find connections and applications in the Word (see verses below) of how God rewards and shows His appreciation to those who gave love to others in need. Some of us might have to wait till we meet the Lord and the “Book of Remembrance” is opened or the Marriage Feast of the Lamb and we meet those whom we have influenced to fully appreciate our lives in any case, there are sure to be some wonderful surprises awaiting us there.
Here are some that come to mind:
Mat 25:33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Mat 25:35 For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Mat 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Mat 25:37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
Mat 25:38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Mat 25:39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Isa 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 55:10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:
Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
Isa 55:12 For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Isa 55:13 Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.
Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mat 10:42 And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.
Mat 25:21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.
Lyrics to Crucify Your Mind
Was it a huntsman or a player
That made you pay the cost
That now assumes relaxed positions
And prostitutes your loss?
Were you tortured by your own thirst
In those pleasures that you seek
That made you Tom the curious
That makes you James the weak?
And you claim you got something going
Something you call unique
But I’ve seen your self-pity showing
As the tears rolled down your cheeks
Soon you know I’ll leave you
And I’ll never look behind
‘Cos I was born for the purpose
That crucifies your mind
So con, convince your mirror
As you’ve always done before
Giving substance to shadows
Giving substance ever more
And you assume you got something to offer
Secrets shiny and new
But how much of you is repetition
That you didn’t whisper to him too
Lyrics to I Wonder
I wonder how many times you’ve been had
And I wonder how many plans have gone bad
I wonder how many times you had sex
I wonder do you know who’ll be next
I wonder l wonder wonder I do
I wonder about the love you can’t find
And I wonder about the loneliness that’s mine
I wonder how much going have you got
And I wonder about your friends that are not
I wonder I wonder I wonder I do
I wonder about the tears in children’s eyes
And I wonder about the soldier that dies
I wonder will this hatred ever end
I wonder and worry my friend
I wonder I wonder wonder don’t you?
I wonder how many times you been had
And I wonder how many dreams have gone bad
I wonder how many times you’ve had sex
And I wonder do you care who’ll be next
I wonder I wonder wonder I do