How to Make a Difference
By Maria Fontaine
A sad part of my day is when I listen to the news. Almost everything is about people facing terrible situations. Both Christians and non-Christians face very painful suffering in one form or another in many parts of the world.
Much of the news is about some tragic circumstance somewhere. It ranges from financial crises to terrorism and wars and conflicts to drug-related violence to homelessness to persecution of Christians to devastation due to climate change to leftover land mines to lack of water in various places to horrible repressive governments.
Thinking about all that’s wrong can leave us feeling depressed if we stop there and we don’t take these situations to God in prayer. But He also uses this in my personal life as I look to Him for hope in a broken world.
Being reminded of the terrible straits that so many people are in always helps to divert my attention from what I consider my own problems and difficulties. Repeatedly being made aware of the suffering and trauma that so many people experience on a daily basis helps me remember the relative insignificance of my own difficulties and struggles and to be acutely aware of how blessed I am to be largely untouched by so many extremely sad and difficult things.
I see how very rich in spirit and blessings I am, how abundantly supplied for. My feet walk in pleasant paths, my eyes behold peaceful meadows, my ears hear beautiful music. I don’t hear the bombs of war. I don’t drink polluted water. I don’t live in a cardboard shack. I don’t hear words of cruelty from harsh taskmasters. I’m not imprisoned in a filthy cell.
I live in peace. Most people I encounter smile and say kind words. I have the freedom to openly talk about my faith. I can enjoy my loved ones. I have fun and friendship and fellowship. I have a warm bed. I can go out without fear.
I’m truly rich in so many ways that are so easy to take for granted!
Listening to the news helps me to pray for those who are suffering around the world. It also helps me to be much more positive and thankful for the “lightness” of my burdens, which are nothing compared with those of so many others.
We who are Christians may still have to struggle and face deep sorrow and suffering. Sometimes we may not feel very wealthy. However, in terms of spiritual provision, freedom, and answers to many of the questions of life, we are richly blessed.
As a result, we have the responsibility to share what we have with those the Lord leads us to, and to pray for those who are suffering and have incurred great loss.
When faced with the suffering and desperate needs of so many in the world today, you may not feel you have much to offer. But in spite of difficulties, deficiencies, inferiorities, disabilities, afflictions, or impediments, we all can do our part. Like the boy who gave his lunch to Jesus because he thought it would help others. (See John 6:9–13) And it did—in a far greater way than he could have ever imagined! What Jesus accomplished through the boy’s offering that day probably affected his and others’ lives forever.
Don’t underestimate the small things you can do: the smile that can cheer someone’s heart, the little word that can be an encouragement, the tract that can convey Jesus’ love, the little offering to God’s work, or the contribution to the poor. He uses some of the smallest things and weakest people as tools to have great impact on the lives of others. (See 1 Corinthians 1:26–28)
God had great commendation for the widow who, though she gave so little, comparatively gave more than the rich men because she gave all she had. He said, “Everyone else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave everything she had.” (Luke 21:4 CEV) He sees your heart and He knows what your sacrifices cost you, and it is great in His eyes.
Maria Fontaine and her husband, Peter Amsterdam, are directors of the Family International, a Christian community of faith.
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