We all want to do great things.
For some people, it’s a matter of making a success of themselves, via money, power, fame, and name, and the ultimate goal is to be rich, well-known, secure, and powerful. King Solomon of old managed this, with a significant amount of help from above, and the ultimate result of achieving what all of us think we want was this:
“I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.
Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 2: 10-11).
Well that’s a happy way to begin the week. Most of us, who are ordinary, with ordinary means and ordinary lives, would enjoy the opportunity to work with a fraction of what Solomon had at his disposal, but wait . . .
We Have Something to Offer
Maybe most of us do have a fraction — albeit a small one — of what Solomon had at his disposal. Okay, so ordinary people don’t tend to have kingdoms, storehouses of treasure, corporate media under their control, pesky paparazzi following them about as they shop, or magazines created to extol their every thought, but proportionally, the people who have the most seem to make the least impact — financially or compassionately — on the lives of ordinary people.
Jesus Himself noted this when he commented on the widow’s offering versus the grander ones of others in Luke 21: 3 — “This poor widow has put in more than all the others,” or observed the pitfalls of extreme wealth in Matthew 19: 24 — “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
Money Is a Resource
While money buys many things — pleasures for ourselves as well as desperately needed items for others — there’s no guarantee that, when any of us has any amount of funds, that we focus as much on item number 2 as we do on item number 1. And within the world of men — which has infiltrated the religious arena where we mistakenly expect to find the kingdom of God — the pressure is on to give to this program or that, the more the better, and if you can give only $75 (personally, I advocate not putting the word “only” in front of any monetary value; it’s insensitive and offensive), well, I guess that’s better than nothing.
The result of this attitude is that ordinary people feel that they can’t do anything for God, because they have so little to give. Leave it to the rich people, we shrug, which is a shame, because the most generous givers, proportionally, have never been rich people.
“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much,” Jesus tells us in Luke 16: 10, “and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
Use What You’ve Got
Do you have very little? That’s okay, someone else has less, and the $5 that you discount as worthless will buy food for a hungry brother or sister. If you don’t have $5 but you do have 20 minutes and a rudimentary knowledge of cars, the oil change you do for the person who knows nothing about her 23-year-old beater but that it’s falling apart, makes a difference. A card, a phone call, an e-mail sent to someone who is longing to be heard by another human being, any human being, at all, makes bigger ripples on the pond than you imagine.
If you can do “nothing more than pray,” then PRAY, because when God gives you a peek into the needs of another, He’s asking you to do a big thing. Focus on that person, commune with God, ask for wisdom as to what to say — and when you’re all done, if it’s possible and seems appropriate, let the person you prayed for know that you prayed for them, and will continue to do so for as long as God instructs.
Ask, Then Listen
It’s not a matter of how much you do or how much you give, it’s that you’re listening to God and following the prompts and prods we all receive each day, but frequently miss because we think that nothing we do really matters.
Everything we do for God matters.
Do you want to do great things? It starts today, with one simple question:
“God: What do You want me to do today?”
And then the exciting part comes, as you await His answer — always different, always unexpected, always just the right thing at just the right time.
Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity where I truly believe in the beauty, grace, and power of the regular, ordinary human being who loves and follows our mighty, compassionate, creative, and loving God. We don’t have to worry about being amazing, because He is.
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