easy to underestimate the power of one person’s influence. We often think, “What can I do?”
The truth is, each of us wields far more power than we could possibly imagine. However, most of us have never discovered this—or we have simply forgotten it.
Here’s FIVE ways you can exercise it:
The older I get, the easier it is to close my eyes to poverty, pain, injustice, and evil. I can order my life, so that I am never put in a position of seeing anything unpleasant. I can look without seeing. I continue to pray daily that “God gives me eyes to see and ears to hear.” You can’t be a agent of change if you don’t perceive the needs around you.
I have an author friend who has a policy about giving to homeless people. He told me, “Every time I used to encounter a homeless person, I would go through all kinds of mental gyrations. If I give money to this person, will they just use it to buy alcohol or drugs? Why don’t they just get a job? Maybe it would be better if I offered them some work rather than just give them money?” Then he remembers a verse from the Bible, “Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you, do not turn away.” Now, whenever he encounters a homeless person or a beggar, he gives them all the cash in his pocket. Sometimes that’s two dollars. Sometimes it’s a hundred. Regardless, he decided to stop over-thinking it and start making a difference. I can come up with a thousand-and-one excuses why I shouldn’t get involved. I can way over-think my response. While I may not be able to do everything, I can do something. And something is usually better than nothing.
Erin couldn’t get the school to give books to her students. So, she got a second job and bought the books herself. The students wanted to bring Miep Gies, the Dutch woman whose family hid Anne Frank and her family, to the school to lecture. The school didn’t have the budget, so the students held a series of fund-raisers to come up with the money. What’s my excuse? No matter what my station in life is, it’s easy to think I don’t have enough resources. My guess is that even Bill Gates feels inadequate in the face of the needs he encounters. Resources are never—and I mean never—the problem. The biggest challenge is simply my will to act.
Let’s face it. The world needs heroes. It needs people who will be courageous and act on principle. But where can we find such people? Maybe the answer is closer than we think. The truth is it can start—and must start—with us. By fate or divine appointment, we are placed in exactly where we are for a reason. What we need to ask is, “What is the right thing to do?”, especially when we are in a very difficult situation. We need to have the courage to do what we believe is right.
I can’t afford to wait for my circumstances to be perfect. I will never have enough experience. I will never have the resources I need. I need to stop whining and just do it! Someone else is waiting for a hero. I may be the best opportunity they have. I may be their answer to prayer.