The problems of our world are so many and diverse that it may appear that there isn’t much we can do about them. On the surface, this may be true; it is very difficult, if not impossible, for any one of us to make a significant impact on the major ills of society. You have, however, probably heard the saying “As one person you can’t change the world, but you can change the world for one person”. This is where we have to focus. On our own we may never make a dent in world poverty, but we can adopt a person or a family and make certain they have enough to eat. On our own we may never be able to give shelter to all who are homeless, but we have the ability to provide a bed and shower to a single mom down on her luck.
It’s important that we don’t become discouraged looking at the enormity of the problems that surround us. There are ample opportunities within each of our spheres of influence in which we can make a significant impact on the life of someone. It is our responsibility to care for the needs of those around us out of the excess with which we have been blessed. Even if you don’t have a lot and are simply living paycheck to paycheck, almost everyone has the ability to help someone even less fortunate than themselves. It could be as simple as buying lunch for one who is not able to afford their own. In our day of “dollar menus”, nearly every American can buy an extra sandwich for someone every now and then. You never know what this small act of kindness might mean to the recipient.
If you’ve been blessed a little more than most, consider adopting a family. With so many single parent homes in our society today, there is no shortage of families in need. Check with your church, local food pantry or shelter to find a family in need and then get to know them. Instead of buying that new car, you could pay their rent for a year. Instead of renewing your club membership, you could keep their cabinets stocked with food. By simply giving up the little luxuries in life, we have the ability to significantly change the world of an individual or a family. As we learn to see Jesus in the eyes of strangers, we will find ourselves compelled to care for their needs.
It isn’t hard to make a difference in the life of another, but it does require some sacrifice on our part. As followers of Christ, we must look at the example of Jesus. He sacrificed a life of comfort, a home of His own, and ultimately His own life for the sake of others. We had no way to make it on our own, so Jesus gave everything He had to provide for our needs. Are you willing to truly be His follower? If so, is it really so much to ask that you not buy the gourmet coffee, the bigger TV or the new boat and instead use that money to care for the needs of someone else? We have acquired a strange and heartbreaking sense of sacrifice; how in the world have we come to see a smaller TV or older cell phone as too great a sacrifice when compared to Jesus giving His very life for us? He died so that we might live, yet we can’t fathom drinking water in the morning because we simply can’t live without our coffee. Do you really want to follow Jesus? Because doing so means that you will give up everything to do the things that He did. It means giving up your comfort in order to help another. When you are ready to follow Jesus, you will see how easy it is to make a difference in this world.