It’s A Wonderful Life: Individual Impact
“The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saved those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18 (NIV UK)
Continuing to look at It’s a Wonderful Life and to unpack what the film says about the impact an individual life can have on the world. You remember George Bailey, the hero of the movie. He grew up in Bedford Falls and, based on his influence, he became one of the town pillars; somebody you could always rely on when you were in trouble. George knew everybody and everybody knew George. And while he lived a life that he never considered extraordinary, just by simply living, he managed positively to impact almost every single person in town. Near the end of the movie, however, it’s George who needs a little help. When Uncle Billy misplaces an $8,000 dollar deposit, George is held personally responsible. And if he can’t come up with the missing money, it’ll mean jail for him.
Out of options and with the darkness closing around him, George comes to realise that he’s worth more to his family dead than alive. He confesses all this to his Guardian Angel, the loveable Clarence Oddbody. George finally wishes that he’d never been born. And, that’s when Clarence has an idea which changes everything. Through a supernatural twist, Clarence allows George to see what the world would have been like without him. And what he experiences is truly terrifying. His family is shattered, his hometown is almost unrecognisable and his friends have been transformed into enemies. As he spirals out of control, Clarence reveals the true lesson behind the transformation. That each life is important to God and has a lasting impact on those around him.
For us, as Christians, we know everything can change with a single life. Through the miracle of the incarnation, Christ turned the entire world upside-down. His individual life changed the course of humanity once and for all. And with every interaction, with every relationship formed while on his earthly ministry, Jesus impacted the lives of those he touched.
Later, with his death and resurrection, his single life and his single sacrifice, he changed everything again, atoning for our sins and bringing us back into right relationship with the father. By the end of the film, George comes to see how valuable his wonderful life really is. And it’s a lesson we can remember this Easter season. As we move closer to celebrating our Saviour’s sacrifice, let’s remember that through Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we can all share in the wonderful and abundant life that he offers us.
Gracious Father, we have no idea of the impact we may make on others. We pray that you would give us the gift to see ourselves as others see us*. So as to be more helpful for others to see you. And this we pray in Jesus’ name.
Study by Joseph Tkach
* After Robert Burns’ poem, To a Louise.
About the Author:
Joseph Tkach is the President of Grace Communion International (the Denominational name of The Worldwide Church of God UK), and resides in California, USA. You are welcome to attend one of our local Church congregations located throughout the UK and Ireland. For details of your nearest local congregation, check on our website, www.wcg.org.uk under the ‘Churches’ tab, or ring +44 (0)1858 437099.