An email article sent to me…

… We are not saviors, but we can help others toward faith. This means not only loving them while they’re still in the mire, but loving them out of it. — Elisabeth Elliot in Quiet Whispers from God’s Heart

Recently I found this list of sentences using homographs floating around on the Internet:

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

The farm was used to produce produce.

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

The soldier decided to desert in the desert.

This was a good time to present the present.

When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

I did not object to the object.

The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

They were too close to the door to close it.

The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

After a number of injections my jaw got number.

Upon seeing the tear in my clothes I shed a tear.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Clever, huh? Obviously, the same words don’t always mean the thing. It depends on the context. Used in one paragraph, a word might have a particular meaning; in another paragraph, it takes on a different flavor. It’s the same word, the same spelling — but a totally

different impact. In a similar way, the same touch in the lives of different people is likely to leave very different impressions.

Let’s go back to our illustration of fingerprints. An interesting thing about fingerprints is that sometimes they’re durable, and sometimes

they’re not. A fingerprint left on a surface such as paper, cardboard, or unfinished wood, if it’s kept dry, can last up to forty years. But a

fingerprint on a surface such as glass or plastic is much more fragile; just brushing against it will damage the impression. It may be the same touch by the exact same finger. But because the surface is different, one touch has lasting value, while the other quickly passes away.

I think the same is true of a woman’s touch. If we consider the lives of others as the “surfaces” we’re touching, we can see that some people are like paper, soaking up our touch and making it last. Others are like glass, and our touch is easily damaged, wiped away, and forgotten.

Jesus touched many lives — with different results. One day, when he and his disciples were approaching a village somewhere between Samaria and Galilee, he noticed ten men calling to him from a distance. These men had leprosy, a terrible disease so contagious that victims were required by law to stay far away from other people. But they’d heard about Jesus and his healing power. So without coming too close, they began to call out loudly, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!”

Jesus saw the men and replied, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.”

And as the men left, they were healed. (Luke 17:11-19) They must have seen in an instant that their request had been granted. Can you imagine their incredible joy? Now they could return to their homes and families! They were no longer outcasts! They were free to live again! I can just picture these men leaping, whooping, and dancing withexcitement.

What would you do if you were given such an incredible gift? I can imagine myself — after my initial leap and whoop — falling to my

knees and crying out in thanks to the person who had granted me a second chance at life. “I owe you my life! Thank you! How can I ever repay you?”

But surprisingly, of the ten men who were healed of leprosy, only one came hack to thank Jesus — and he was a Samaritan (a group considered inferior by the Jews of that day). Realizing he had been healed, the Samaritan returned to Jesus, threw himself at Jesus’ feet, and began to loudly praise God. He was like paper — soaking up the touch of his Healer. The other nine men, on the other hand, were like glass; the impression of God’s touch was all too quickly rubbed off and forgotten.

Notice: It was the same touch on ten, the same healing on ten, but only one response of thanks. Same touch, different hearts, different impact. You’ve seen it happen in your own life. Perhaps you’re a mother, and you’ve always done your best to treat your

children exactly the same. One turns out to be an honor student headed for an Ivy League school, while the other drops out of high school and is in and out of trouble with the law. Or perhaps you’re an employer, and you gave the same bonus to each of your employees last Christmas.

Some were thrilled to have the extra cash, while the rest complained, “Is this all ?”

You know how it is — you say the same words, yet they mean different things to those hearing them. You offer the same touch, yet it yields different results in different lives. Some people soak up your touch; others wipe it off. You might look at these situations and get

discouraged: “Fine! I just wont do anything nice for anyone!” Yet look back at the example of Jesus. He kept on healing others, he kept on offering salvation, and he kept on being rejected. He still offers salvation today, despite the fact that millions continue to reject him.

He keeps on loving without end. He keeps touching us again and again, whether we choose to soak up the touches or wipe them away. Can you be like Jesus and keep on touching lives, even though you may not always get the thanks or the results you hope for?

The answer to that question probably depends upon your answer to this one: How are you at soaking up God’s touch? His touch in our lives makes a long-lasting, life-changing impact. Through his touch, we find the strength to keep on loving, to keep on giving. So immerse yourself in God’s love. Get saturated, drenched, sopping wet. Don’t try to wipe it away. The results will he amazing!

Gracious Lord, touch me over and over with your love, your joy, your mercy, your peace. Leave impressions on my heart that cannot be washed away so that I, in turn, might pass them on to everyone I touch. Though grace is shown to the wicked, they do not learn righteousness; even in a land of uprightness they go on doing evil and regard not the majesty of the LORD. (Isaiah 26:10)

———

From her book, “A Woman’s Touch: The Fingerprints Left Behind” (c) 2001, Howard Publishing Company. Used by permission.

This article cannot be reprinted in another publication without written permission of the publisher.


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