Mustard seeds and butterflies: Little actions, big impact

Big events tend to garner large amounts of attention.

As a general rule, one can gauge how important an event is to the community at large by how full the parking lot is at the high school. When the Seymour Owls are playing the Brownstown Central Braves, for instance, every parking space in the lot is full, vehicles are parked all up and down the surrounding streets and our parking lot here at the church also is packed to capacity.

Other events that draw similar attention and attendance are the school musical, various band concerts, the state basketball tournament (which is a totally different level of crazy) and graduation.

As I drove past the high school on my way to the church Monday morning, I noticed the parking lot is once again packed with cars spilling out into the on-street parking, as well. This event, however, is a different kind of community gathering.

Rather than screaming sports fans, attentive music lovers or proud families and friends celebrating the talents and achievements of their precious cherubs, those packing the house are the staff and faculty for Seymour Community Schools. They have gathered this quiet and calm Monday morning to prepare for the insanity of the school year to come.

Again, it’s the major happenings that draw the crowds, elicit the cheers and garner the pomp and pageantry. But all of the biggest events are made possible through thousands of small interactions and investments that take place in the relatively unnoticed obscurity of the everyday and the ordinary. Even the smallest of actions has the power to make an immeasurable impact.

As I write these very words, words which will be posted on my blog and published in the local newspaper, I can’t help but think of my second grade teacher, Mrs. Sharon Poyser. Having repeated the first grade, I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my academic abilities. Mrs. Poyser, however, pushed me to step out and make the effort to do and be more.

She encouraged me to enter a young author’s event with a book I had written for an assignment. I still have the book to this day. It is a terribly illustrated book about snakes with very little information of worth, but to Mrs. Poyser, it was a potentially prize-winning piece of literature.

I don’t remember exactly what she said to me, but I remember she was proud of me and that she made me feel like what I had done mattered and had merit. It was a small interaction, one that she probably had with dozens of students, one that no one else would ever know about and that she herself probably wouldn’t remember, but it mattered to me.

It was a small moment that instilled a bit of confidence in an uncertain author. She planted a seed inside the heart and mind of a small boy that is producing fruit to this day.

In Matthew 17:20, Jesus says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

Interesting fact about seeds: They only produce when planted. That’s what teachers do. They plant small seeds of faith in our hearts and minds, which grow into massive trees that move the ground and forever alter the landscape.

It reminds me of a theory known as “The Butterfly Effect.” The theory states that something as seemingly insignificant as a butterfly flapping its wings on one side of the globe could cause a hurricane on the other. Whether that’s true or not, it’s undeniable that small actions have the potential to make a massive impact in our world.

I’m certainly grateful for the faith that was implanted in me by teachers like Mrs. Poyser. Her encouragement was the first breath of wind that pushed me as a writer. I don’t know that I’m changing the world, but I know that she changed mine.

And I have all confidence that the fine folks who gathered at Seymour High School this morning will make an immeasurable impact in the lives of the young people in our community through the investments to come, both great and small.

May we pray for, encourage and support them as they undertake this important work, and may we join them in making similar investments in those around us. Even the littlest of actions can make a big impact.

The Rev. Jeremy Myers is the lead pastor of First Baptist Church in Seymour. Read his blog at Send comments to [email protected].