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The elephant and the mosquito

By Tearfund | 09 Nov 2018

I’d never heard a positive word about them before, but last weekend I joined with 500 others as we shared some mutual appreciation for the much maligned mosquito...

A reflection by Tearfund’s Dan Preston, one of the organisers of The Justice Conference.

I’d never heard a positive word about them before, but last weekend I joined with 500 others as we shared some mutual appreciation for the much maligned mosquito. I was at the first ever Justice Conference in the UK. Hosted by Tearfund, it was two days spent exploring the theology of justice, hearing from people on the frontline of various ministries and charity work, and sharing inspiration, ideas and encouragement.

Celia Apeagyei-Collins shared something in her talk that became my key takeaway from the event. ‘You describe the elephant by its size, but the mosquito by its impact,’ she said. ‘Even the smallest thing has an impact.’

We know the mosquito’s impact is a negative one – at best an inconvenient buzz, at worst magnifying the spread of disease. But what struck me is how we’re often quick to dismiss the contributions we could or do make, as insignificant.

We all have a part to play
It can feel like any impact we have is small, but even small actions have the potential to make a difference in the lives of others. At Tearfund, we’re privileged to see this first hand. We see it when one small petition card is the tipping point for governmental change, and when a short, faithful prayer makes all the difference. We see it when a supporter runs a sponsored event that raises crucial funds.

We see the power of seemingly small things in the communities we work with around the world, too: that one new farming technique that doubles a harvest; that act of kindness and inclusion that restores someone’s hope and confidence.

I left The Justice Conference last weekend thinking, ‘How can I use the power of small actions to change the world?’ Sometimes, we feel as small as a mosquito, not as big as an elephant, and that’s OK. God calls us to use what we have to make a difference – no matter how small it seems.

Please pray

Father, we praise you for the incredible ways that you take our small actions and turn them into lasting change for your glory. Thank you for using us to help build your kingdom. Please open our eyes to opportunities and ways that we can make a difference. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Written by Tearfund