Tonight I feel really connected to the other side of the world. But the feeling is bitter sweet. Through photos, video footage, and audio tracks, CNN paints a pretty harsh picture of what is going on in Japan, Libya, and New Zealand, right now. As I sit here typing on my macbook the other side of the world is being rocked to its core, literally.
So what do we do? I am asking as a Christian, but I mean for this question to target at all humans. Humans, what do we do? Another question, is there something we can do? Is there a job to be filled if no one has asked us specifically to fulfill a task?
One answer: Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
From my twin size bed I want to reach out for a hand of another human being who needs it and say that everything is going to be okay, even though I have no idea what tomorrow will bring. This desire and good intention is a great place to start, but seriously, we need practical.
1. Do what you can.
Have any gifts? I’m thinking about all of the abilities and talents that God has given you. Perhaps you sing, dance, teach, cook, clean, or mow lawns extraordinarily well. I believe that as much as these abilities are coming from you, they have been given as a gift; one which you can give of and should give of. If you sometimes don’t, you’re like me. I am a singer who has held in her voice because I don’t think it is quite perfect enough to be belted out. Nevertheless, I have to get over myself and my imperfections and share that gift with others, especially if it will produce joy! This gift could be used to spread encouraging messages and to lift the spirits of others around me. Do what you can, and you will be blessing yourself and others.
If you feel like you have received the short end of the stick (or something) and you’re lacking in the “gift” department, don’t worry. First of all, you’re probably not lacking anything, it’s just that no one has pointed out what you are great at! (This should serve as a lesson to all of us to encourage others when we see that they possess a gift of some sort). Second, I would strongly encourage you to pray about being blessed with gifts and talents, or simply to have them uncovered! We have a God who wants to be glorified, and if you hope to use this gift for His kingdom, pray away and expect to be blessed! He will honor your good intention to ‘do what you can.’
Finally, can you leave your home? Can you talk on the phone? Can you do research? Can you give of yourself when it isn’t always comfortable? Can you play games? Can you read? Can you write a letter? If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then talents or not, you are set to do what you can and make an impact.
2. With what you have.
Sometimes I have very little to offer–monetary wise, strength wise, joy wise, hope wise, etc. However, the small gifts we do have to give are often of the most value. Referencing the story of ‘The Last Coin,’ I want to encourage you to see your small collection of ‘offerings’ as being great in value.
As Jesus looked up, he saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. “Truly I tell you,”he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” — Luke 21:1-4
Say you are short on funds, giving of your time could be a great replacement! Not only can friendships form out of human to human interaction, but you haven’t limited yourself to the precedent of helping others only when money is available. The same goes for anything which you may be lacking: don’t hold it too tightly. You may just find your “small” gifts growing exponentially when not held solely within your grasp.
I will offer my time by becoming more informed about the issues going on, and I will ask others their perspective. I will use the freedom within my schedule to seek out productive activities that can benefit me and others.
Take what you do have, and make it worthwhile.
3. Where you are.
I like the expression: “Think globally, act locally.” Before you jump on a plane to Africa, hoping to go “change the world,” consider the fact that people up the street from you need help too. (Think Big Brother/Big Sister programs, the Salvation Army, schools, old folks homes, parents of new borns, your church nursery, etc.) And for most of us, acting locally is all we can do. As a University student I don’t think it would be most advantageous to quit halfway through as there is a reason I’m here, namely, to become informed. Don’t forget that the local cause is just as important as ones on a global scale.
Also, consider where you are in your life. What season are you in? I would classify myself as a 20-something University student about to graduate and enter the “real world.” Meditate on how you can help from your unique season. Mentoring those who are going through the same season or one which you have already gone through can be of great assistance to them, and to yourself.
There are few things which can serve to light our path during times such as these, where the world news headline brings people to an abrupt stop on a weekly, daily, and hourly basis. But I feel a soft reminder in my heart from a loving Father who hurts just as deeply for those who are lost and in trials, those overseas from myself, and those who are just up the street.
But to quote Zac Smith, “God is still God. And God is still Good”. And that, you can count on to never change.
Cast all your burdens on Him, for he cares for you. -1 Peter 5:7
Praise God for your good hearts and desire to love and serve! Send me a message if you need anymore encouragement, or if you need prayer.