Go Small

by Todd Ghermann, Founder and Ministry Director

In 2015 Next Step Ministries had the privilege of filming Francis Chan for a worship series in San Francisco, which in turn gave us an opportunity to film at some of the most breathtaking landmarks in the United States. One specific landmark that sticks out to me was the Golden Gate Bridge.  The views from the bridge and the mountain lookouts overlooking the bridge were nothing short of amazing and not to mention, a true accomplishment for human engineering; yet, as stunning as the bridge is in terms of it’s beauty and engineering, it is also known as the second most popular destination in the world for people to end their lives.

This bridge has seen more that 1,500 (known) suicides since it opened in 1937, and according to some sources, the suicide rate is roughly averaging one every two weeks off the bridge. However, there is some good news, that is, a large number of people who have had the urge to end their lives by jumping off the bridge actually decided not to jump at the last minute. Somehow or somewhere within themselves they have found the strength and will to live and give life one more chance.

So you may be asking yourself, why am I blogging about this, right? Simply, I’ve been struggling with the undeniable question that bores it’s way into my soul, that is, why some end up jumping and others at the last minute decided to give life one more chance. What is the difference maker in each of their lives?

Craig Gross in his latest book Go Small tells of a suicide note collected a few years ago that was written by an anonymous person as they made their way to the Golden Gate Bridge. The line from this note that catches my eye simply read, “If one person smiles at me on the way I will not jump.” Unfortunately, for this person’s family, friends and for all those reading this blog today, this person decided to unfortunately end their life. Suicide affects youth and adults alike and to be honest it’s not a decision that someone takes lightly. It’s usually thought out and derives from a great deal of depression, loneliness, pain and hurt. Now to be fair and as Craig Gross points out in his book “it’s a very real possibility that this person who ended their life would never have been able to recognize a hopeful smile even if someone had given them one.” But what if they had? What if some stranger walking along the bridge actually gives this person a sincere and heartfelt smile; offering them the smallest, simplest gift one human can offer another?

You may have heard the old adage “go big or go home”, but as Craig Gross argues it’s not always about going big at all. Unfortunately, so many people are more concerned about swinging for the fences, climbing the corporate ladder, or making a name for themselves that they forget the biggest and sometimes greatest success a human can attain is by “going small!” You don’t have to look much further than Jesus being God himself coming into our world as one of us, a mere human being, yet what he accomplished by becoming small was bigger than anything humanity has ever seen or will ever see again!

There is nothing wrong with going big, but if that’s all you focus on you may be missing out on some of the biggest moments in life. Think about it, when you are driving in your car how do you use that time, e.g., what do you choose to listen to, could you use that time to pray? When you’re at the grocery store, how do you treat and present yourself to others? When that car in traffic cuts you off, how do you respond to them? Wherever you go in life, be sure to keep an eye out for opportunities to share God’s love with others, even if your only opportunity is with a smile.

Next Step Ministries