"To the world you might be one person, but to one person you might be the world."
Once while entering a local juice bar with my son...a homeless man said he was hungry and asked me for one of the items on the menu. Happily I ordered what he requested...and together my son and I delivered the smoothie. As I reached out to shake his hand, I asked him what his name was. He looked at me and said, "Robert." My son asked him several questions and thoughtfully he answered them. As we turned to go he said, "Thank you for asking me my name...no one ever does that."
"I am only one, but I am one. I can't do everything but I can do something. I won't let what I can't do stop me from doing what I can."
quote by Edward Everett Hale
quote by Edward Everett Hale
I have to force myself to Stop, Look, Listen, and Respond. I see laundry, dirty dishes, unmade beds, groceries to buy, errands to run. Things that are undone and need to be made right again every day. Bigger more complicated life issues like injustice, hunger, and poverty feels beyond my reach. My joy in helping Robert was that he had a specific request, a simple need I could act on immediately. It wouldn't change his lot in life but maybe the act of kindness would fill his belly and give him an ounce of hope that the world still contained some compassion. As it so often happens...it changed me probably far more than it helped him.
I don't have to look very hard to see people in my path that long for a loving touch, a kind word, a helping hand. What I've learned is that responding to the need is always far more fulfilling than continuing on with my scheduled list. A year from now I won't remember the soccer practice that was missed, but forever I'll have the memory of listening to the mom that was feeling so overwhelmed with life, and asking her if I could pray. Hopefully, the few times I do get it right, my kids will learn from my actions to value people more than the other distractions of life.
"Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God."
Here are a few ideas of things you can do today to make a difference.
*Look for people in your path today that need encouragement.
*Talk to your kids about seeing the needs of others.
*Take a few minutes to think about what breaks your heart and Google search to learn more.
*For $6 you can purchase a bed net online to protect families against malaria. 1 million people die of this disease each year. Learn more
*Visit a nursing home.
*Instead of looking away...say hello to the homeless.
*If you love hospitality, offer to cook a meal for someone in need.
*Set up a lemonade stand with the kids and donate the money to a worthy organization.
*Think about how you are gifted and use them.
*The church I attend, Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, is doing a series called "The Ripple Effect". Opening our eyes to the pain of the world and responding to those needs. Our pastor is John Ortberg who is a nationally known author and speaker. If interested, click here...The Ripple Effect...to see the first talk in the series. It might just start something stirring in your heart.