Recently, a nearby office supply store had a major fire. Since this store was close to where I work, Donna and I had grown very dependent upon it for all of our office supply needs. Over the last few weeks, we've been learning just how dependent!

On several "duh" occasions, we found ourselves in the parking lot of this store in a rush for a much needed item. We had driven there on "autopilot," never really engaging our minds. After all, we knew the store was closed because of the fire.

Frustrated at our own forgetfulness, angry at our waste of time, and irritated at our inconvenience, we had to stop and think about where we could go to get what we needed. On most of these "duh" visits, we didn't have time to go to another place. Sitting in the parking lot, we found it way too easy to throw ourselves our own little pity party.

Our only consolation was seeing others in the store parking lot with the same exasperated look on their faces as they realized the store was still closed. Meanwhile, the folks most seriously impacted by the fire, the employees, were lost to us in our self-centered perspective. Their loss of income caused them huge problems and then those effects rippled out to their families and to our community. Such is life in an interconnected world!

At first glance, this seems to be bad news. However, if we look at this with Christian eyes, we should be greatly encouraged. Our world is interconnected so that one major event impacts whole webs of people. This is true of frustrating and damaging events as well as good and redemptive acts. Rather than cursing the interconnectedness of our world that makes us vulnerable to the bird flu as well as to economic changes thousands of miles away from us, we should rejoice and take strategic action to use this interconnectedness for the Kingdom of God.

Our good deeds, our mercy shared with others, our sacrificial help for those in need, and our refusing to return unkindness with unkindness can have a profound impact in the world in which we live.

Jesus didn't have to "get it" — he is the ultimate example of this truth. However, he does want us to "get it"! Strategic redemptive acts can have a profound influence for good on the culture of our community and the people around us. Part of this power is Spirit driven. However, some this influence lies in the incredible power that a good and kind person can have on others.

We should be greatly encouraged.
Jesus wants us to resist the cynical and retribution-hungry demons of our fleshly natures. The Lord wants us to live with conviction knowing that our actions matter — not just to him, but also to the world around us. He calls us to believe that we are put where we are to use our influence and our world's interconnectedness for his goodness! He showed it with his life and said to us with these words:

"You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its taste, then it cannot be made salty again. Salt is good for nothing, if it loses its salty taste. It must be thrown out and people walk on it.
"You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don't hide a light under a bowl. No. People put the light on a lamp table. Then the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that people will see the good things you do. Live so that people will praise your Father in heaven."
(Matthew 5:13-16 ERV)