You Can Be A Genie

Posted: December 8, 2008 by Rich Landosky in Rich's Random Ramblings, The Journey
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Just got back from having lunch with  my brother, Nick.  As I was driving to meet him to partake of some good food and catch up with him, I realized I had forgotten my iPod so all I had to listen to in the Jeep was the radio.  I turned it on and was mindlessly driving and listening to Reach FM – not because I really like it as a station but just because it was already on.  About half way there the lyrics of a song caught my attention.  I have no idea who the artist was singing the song or what the title to the song was.  All I got were a few words that grabbed me and shook me awake and got me thinking.  “I wish wishes came true.”  Interesting words.  The next several lines of lyrics I don’t remember word for word, just the main ideas: then no one would go a day without a hug or hearing the words “I love you” or be alone or … and on and on.

I guess at some point all of us wishes there were genies.  We would rub the magic lamp and out would appear a genie speaking in Robin Williams’ voice granting us three wishes.  Anything we wanted.  That would be fun.  Now some folks would quickly begin rattling off things they wanted: new car, house, better job, lose 30 pounds, etc.  Then there would be the “smart” person who would ask as one of his wishes for unlimited wishes for the rest of his life.  Then there would be the more “spiritual” people who might ask for things that focused a little more outward and on others such as: peace on earth, food and shelter for the homeless, no one to ever go to bed lonely or without hearing the words “I love you,” etc.  Truly noble wishes.  Imagine life like this.  Makes you almost want to sing the words “I wish wishes came true.”

Let’s push the pause button together for a moment.  Why do we often wish that wishes came true – even the noble ones?  Why do we always seem to be looking for that genie in the magical lamp?  Could it be because it is easier to wish that a genie would take care of all of the problems instead of us becoming the genies?  We are the ones called to make these noble wishes come true.  I know, you can’t make them come true for the entire world.  I get that.  But you and I can make some, even one, of these noble wishes come true for even one person.  Can’t we?  Track with me for another minute if you will.  We could wish that a genie would snap his fingers (or her fingers if you prefer Barbara Eden  – “I Dream of Jennie” – as your genie instead of Robin Williams) and no person would ever feel lonely again.  Or we can be the genie and sit with someone who is by themselves, feeling lonely at the lunch table.  We could wish that our genie would  make it so that no person ever went a day without hearing the words “I love you” or we can become the genie and make sure that we say those words to one person everyday that might not otherwise hear them.  We could ask our genie to make sure everyone always has a friend or we can become the genie and be a friend to someone who doesn’t have one.

We are supposed to be the genies granting these “wishes.”  You and me.  That’s what it means to follow Jesus.  That’s what it means to live on mission or to be missional or to engage in the service of mission or to be involved in God’s work.  Use whatever phrase you’d like.  Bottom line is that you and I are called to be wish-granting genies.  Not to the whole world at once but to one person at a time.  I’m reminded of the “Starfish Story.”  You’ve probably heard it before.

The Starfish Story
Original Story by: Loren Eisley

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed
a boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. 

Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”

The youth replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.  The surf is up and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.”

“Son,” the man said, “don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?  You can’t make a difference!”

After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish,
and threw it back into the surf.  Then, smiling at the
man, he said…”
I made a difference for that one.”

Each day as I walk Alyssa to school, right before she heads into building, I kiss on the forehead or cheek and remind her of her main job and responsibility for that day while at school: “Make a difference in somebody’s life today.”

It’s easier to dream we had a magical lamp with a genie who would grant us these wishes.  But we’re the ones called to be those genies.  So, go make a difference in somebody’s life today and let the love and power of Jesus Christ work in and through you.


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