If you had the power to change anything in the world today, what would you do with it?
The number of times I’ve come across some variation of this question being asked makes me think that we’re all born with some innate drive to do great things in life. Unfortunately, what tends to happen to us is that fire is doused cold by the prevailing circumstances of our lives. For some, it means that they make do with the cards life has dealt with and settle into survival mode. Others lash out and set out on a path that is more destructive than it is beneficial to them and others.
Regardless of the paths we choose in life, there’s still a gnawing feeling deep down inside that never quite goes away that tells us that we were made for more. Those who do acknowledge this feeling often do so with some variation of this: I want to change the world but ___________. There’s always that but – that reason why you can’t make the difference that you want.
The buts we have for the things we can’t do are often tied to scale. We want to do so much for so many at a magnitude that is completely beyond our current capacity. It’s no wonder then that we get caught up in paralysis by analysis. I don’t have resources to help 100 people ends up becoming helping the one in front of me won’t make much of a difference so why bother. I don’t have access to a million followers becomes I can’t use my trade/craft to impact the steady stream of people who are a constant staple in my life.
Can you imagine what it would be like to be in need of someone’s help only for them to say that because they can’t help 10 of you, they can’t help you? As someone in need of something you know the treasure and value you assign to whatever help you can get. So what happens when we’re on the giving end that makes us think that helping one person is a waste of time and effort?
“Do for the one what you wish you could do for everyone.”
– Andy Stanley
One of the recurrent themes Heidi Baker preaches about is stopping for the one…loving the one. She wonderfully demystifies transforming the world by asking what that looks like for the one individual who is right in front of you.
If we pick anyone in the world who’s ever made some semblance of difference, I’m pretty sure at the beginning there was a ground zero – the first person they impacted which led to the next and the next. So it’s ironic that so many of us wait (in our minds) for big stages and big opportunities in order to do the big things that will change the world. When the way to the big stuff is actually by doing the “small” but oh-so-significant stuff. It is in taking the singular steps that miles of distance are covered.
Paraphrasing Pastor Michael Todd, a platform only gives you an opportunity to magnify what you’re already doing on the ground. So if you’re doing nothing on the ground while waiting for a platform, even if you did get that elevation today, nothing still multiplies into nothing.
It’s easy to get caught up in everything that we don’t have, but what have we done with what we do have in our hands? How faithful have we been where God has planted us in this season?
The older I get, the more I see, the more convinced I am that the way God has patterned believers to change the world is by loving our neighbours in both word and action. For the prayers of the righteous do indeed avail much. But it is the utmost folly to pray for God to give your neighbour that which is already in your hand. Consider that maybe the reason it’s in your hand to begin with, and they just happen to be in need right next to you too, is that it wasn’t just for you.
Who has God placed next to you in this season as your neighbour?
What has He given you the ability to do in their life?
Do it wholeheartedly for them as you would want someone to do for you.
See what God will do with your 2 fish and 5 loaves faithfully given.