Devotional: April 18th
One thousand miles south of Hawaii in the Pacific Ocean lies a tiny island that has been named the Palmyra Atoll. As tiny islands go it is fairly large encompassing the grand total of some four and one half square miles. And, as tiny islands go, it is uninhabited. For some reason no one wants to live on an insignificant speck of land stuck a thousand miles from civilization. Small just isn't attractive and desirable when it is that remote.
Even though this tiny island is so insignificant it became a welcome port when the American ship Palmyra was blown off course and forced to land in the midst of a storm in 1852. For the sailors of that ship its shores became a welcome respite from the danger of being lost at sea. The island was then named for the ship by the sailors whose lives were blessed to be tucked away there.
Ten years later Hawaii claimed possession of the atoll as King Kamehameha IV realized that it was actually part of the larger Hawaiian archipelago. When Hawaii was annexed by the Unites States in 1898 Palmyra was included. But the tiny locale was excluded from statehood in 1959 as it was not included in the official listing of the Hawaiian Islands added as the fiftieth state. Today it is a privately owned nature preserve. Such is the life of the tiny and insignificant.
The seemingly insignificant can take on large proportions when it is nurtured. The Palmyra Atoll, whether it is a part of the Unites States or not, is a blessing to the flora and fauna which flourish there. It is surprising how the insignficant can become important. Two thousand years ago the passing of a Jewish carpenter's son by execution hardly made a ripple in the world. Contemporary local historians recorded it but the rest of the world hardly blinked.
Today that man's own words express the impact of His seeming insignificance at that time. "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field, which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches." Matthew 13:31, 32 Jesus' death ushered in the church. And the church has become a haven for those oppressed by sin seeking a sanctuary in Christ Jesus. All from something insignificant.
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