Most of us have heard the story of a girl who walks along a beach that is covered with washed-up starfish and starts throwing them back into the sea so that they can live. A man comments to her, “You can’t save them all, you aren’t going to make a difference.” To which the girl replies as she throws one more back into the sea, “I made a difference to that one.”
In our modern world, access to information is easier than it’s ever been. We are bombarded with news from all over the world. Stories of war, famine, abuse, violence, poverty and natural disasters fill most of our news space. It’s overwhelming and disheartening. In our own neighbourhoods, we see poverty, homeless children and forgotten souls who so desperately need a helping hand. We feel powerless to make a “real” difference. Where do we start? How do we make any impact in our own small way? Most of us want to help but feel that the cause is too big, the mountain too high, and so often we choose to do nothing because “you aren’t going to make a difference.”
Imagine if God had that attitude when it came to us. Imagine if He looked at all our sin and the mess we’ve made and said, “It’s just too overwhelming. I can’t make a difference.” Jesus was one man and look at the difference He made! We may not have superhero capes tucked in our cupboards but we have compassionate hearts that beat because God allows them to. We can help someONE. Galatians 6 v 9-10 says, “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Therefore, as we have opportunity let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
Avoid being disheartened by the expanse of worthy causes, or by the number of people in need. Rather, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. If God has given us the ability to help, isn’t it our responsibility to do so? Helping is not about grand gestures or about having lots of money – it’s about listening to God’s whisper when He shows you someone in need and acting on it. Helping is about giving God glory and thanks for being able to help – whether it’s taking time to sit with someone who needs an ear to listen or buying someone a meal. When your heart is stirred to act, then act! Do not stop yourself because you feel you will have to help everyone if you help one. No, instead, help one and pray that others will do the same.
If you are not sure where to start, here are some pointers to help you along your way:
- Go deep rather than wide. Focus your efforts in one specific way – make an impact in that one way instead of trying to do too much of too little.
- Go long instead of short – commit to helping one cause for a longer period of time – you will see the fruits of your labour.
- Go time, not just money – so many of us use the excuse of not having enough money to help or make a difference – your time is more valuable and you can give your time.
Remember, do for one what you wish you could do for everyone. Ask yourself, “Who is the one?”. Write your own story of hope and faith. Be the change that you keep waiting for others to make.