Almost 30 years ago a single man stood in front of a column of tanks the day after a protest in China was brought to a forceful end. This one man who has been dubbed “Tank Man” has no identity that we know of other than the back of him caught on video from quite a distance away. As a column of nearly a dozen tanks rolled down this major road in Beijing he, carrying what appears to be two sacks of groceries, steps in front of the lead tank. As it tries to maneuver past, he moves with it continually blocking its path. He then climbs on the tank, seems to say something to the driver, then as the video ends, he is again seen standing in front of this lead tank. It is pretty amazing to watch, and yes you can google it to find the video.
Unfortunately Paul Harvey, who was very popular at that time wasn’t there with “the rest of the story,” giving us, though his witty charm, the details of what became of the individual or what events it prompted. We don’t know what happened to the “Tank Man.” Did he go on to lead an underground resistance? Did he go back to life as normal? Did the government find him and end his life? We do know it seemed to have no effect on the Chinese government since they are still in power today and the rebellion that was crushed the day before has not risen since.
What can seem like a small event that has no effect can in essence be just the opposite. Matthew records Jesus talking about a mustard seed (13:31-32). It is the smallest of seeds, yet it grows to be the largest in the garden, useful to the birds that need a place to rest.
What actions do you consider to be small events? Asking someone at work or in your neighborhood how they are doing? Or maybe what can you keep in prayer for them? It may seem like it is not a big deal and they may not enthusiastically respond, but that doesn’t mean it is not significant. It may have an impact on them simply because you cared. At the very least it tells them who you are. And who knows what great things God can do with a simple discussion prompted because you cared.
You probably aren’t going to see any tanks rolling down the road this week for you to stand in front of—but there is Satan. He is rolling down the streets of our neighborhoods, where we work, at the activities we attend, and he’s crushing people daily. Sometimes we just need to step out in front of him. We won’t stop him forever, but that doesn’t mean we can’t positively impact someone’s life for that one small moment in History.
Ready to stand,