Many times people are frozen in a state of inactivity when it comes to making a change in our world because of two things: (1) The enormous scale of the problems we see (2) A lack of ideas of what we can do to help. I doubt the solutions I provide you to these two issues will cause you to think of me as Mother Teresa, but I do hope they will help you begin to creatively build into your life ways to make a difference on a consistent basis. If you are not planning on moving to Africa or even to downtown next week, there are still many things you can do to positively affect the world around you with Good News. After all, the Bible is full of stories about people that took small steps towards fully following Christ.
Here are a few things I’ve tried to build into my life personally in the last few weeks and months that hopefully are beginning to make a difference in the way I impact the world around me:
- Anytime I buy new clothes, I donate the same number of items of that item to Goodwill. For example, if I buy 3 new t-shirts then I donate 3 that I don’t use anymore. What tends to happen is this causes me to pause before I spend (which is good), and I have had to make a few “tough” choices on donating items that I really like/enjoy. The bottom line is I own more than enough articles of clothing and I do not need to keep accumulating more stuff.
- Becca and I bought a Brita filter a while back rather than buying bottle water. This is something small that hopefully makes a big difference in the amount of waste we leave behind. We also have been recycling for a few years now (Hewitt has begun picking it up for free in the last two months!) and this seems to make a big difference as well.
- Anytime someone asks for money, I do whatever I can to supply him or her with what they need. I rarely hand out cash for obvious reasons (even though sometimes I think it is good to willingly get taken advantage of), but I do ask the individual what they need and I try to get it for them if I can. This has meant me running to get food for a few people (it also makes their day when they get to pick whatever they want to eat) and even paying a bill for an individual. The best resource you have when you see someone in need is time. Being available to help if they are truly in need can mean the world to someone. Also, seeing someone in a vulnerable situation as another human being rather than as a danger to your safety or a charity case tends to make all the difference in the world.
- This week I moved from buying coffee that is $4.00 a cup to coffee that is $1.70 a cup. I know it is ridiculous that I spend that much money on coffee, so don’t beat me up. I also know that this issue is not black and white (fair trade people out there), but I am talking about something I personally can do. This $2.30 savings every other day or so is providing me with enough money to sponsor another Compassion Child in Ecuador or a Child through Mission Waco in Haiti. The point of saving money is not for my personal gain, but to directly apply this money to helping out another individual in need.
Like I said, I will hardly win the Noble Peace Prize for these actions, but this is just where I am on my journey. I am hardly the example of sacrificial living. I know of many individuals with better ideas that are much further down the road than I am, but I thought I would toss in my two cents. The point is to move further down the discipleship road and to continue to stretch yourself on behalf of the Kingdom. Hopefully you and I can continue to build small changes in our lives that add up to making an impact in your spheres of influence. Because just like a few dollars saved on a cup of coffee can put a kid through school, any amount of small change can ultimately make a big difference in someone else’s life.