Does anyone else out there have a tendency to absorb information on a particular topic like you are dried-out dirt in desperate need of watering on a hot summer day? Someone please tell me that I’m not the only one. Your topic doesn’t have to be the same as mine, but I sort of assume that we all have what might be called “hot button” issues. Perhaps you are passionate about food/nutrition/what we eat as a society. Maybe you get fired up about politics, who votes, who doesn’t, why, why not, and how to get more people out to rock that vote. It’s possible your heart breaks for the military so you are always reading up on the latest developments in policy that relates to them, scanning news stories for conflicts that might impact one area or another. Is this jangling your door-bell, friend? I am a bit of of an information junkie on various issues, myself. I read lots of blogs or news articles that relate to topics that usually end up breaking my heart and leave me wondering, “What on earth do I do with this? What role do I play in making a difference?”
To be honest, sometimes the information overloads my senses and I’m left feeling immobilized by it all. It’s tough to feel like I can make a difference in the world of orphans in Ethiopia, or to the foster care situation in Austin. It is challenging to believe that I can contribute to food stability for folks in the United States. I want to believe that somehow I can be a part of the solution for empowering girls across the globe, even if I am only one person. In pondering these situations, I believe we are called to serve and love the needy, the “least of these,” and that in the face of the privilege I have all around me, I need to shake off my immobilization and get to work.
There is a man, a pastor, I follow on Twitter who seems to have such a compassionate and practical heart. I so appreciate him. Tonight he posted:
What an encouragement for me! It is such a great reminder for me that it is important to do what I am able to do well and not be so worried about what is beyond my scope. It is practical that I cannot change the world, but important that I focus on the sphere around me. I can talk to someone about white privilege and how that empowers us to speak on behalf of someone who is voiceless, and let that seed germinate. I can be aware of my financial blessings which can go to assist those who don’t have the same benefits that I take for granted. I have a responsibility to act, and act well. I do not have a responsibility to change the whole world.
Recently I gave the example of how an action in a community can ripple out and impact people, sometimes unbeknownst to the instigator. My actions, and my friends, your actions too, can have this impact. Please impact the world around you in a positive way. Take whatever it is that stirs your heart – the military, politics, nutrition, food quality, child slavery, adoption, homelessness, animal rights, the environment, the list could go on – and do something to educate, have a constructive conversation, create access for someone, lend a helping hand, give the ministry of presence to someone, financially support, pray, provide resources, whatever fits within your resources and abilities, but just do something to impact the world around you. To be cliche’ for a hot minute – you know the story of the starfish, yes? Make a difference for that one, and perhaps that one will one day be able to make a difference for another. Ripples are powerful. Don’t be overwhelmed.