Changing the world for the better can seem like an unreachable goal. People who even consider it often just shrug their shoulders and say "I can't make a difference." This is such a shame. We all too often tend to think of "the world" as something out in a distance and overlook the needs of those in our own community.
One person CAN made a difference. "One person committed to a cause is far more effective than a thousand who are merely interested." (William E. Brown) And when we share that commitment with passion, enlisting others, we can make an even bigger difference. There is most probably a need that you have the capacity, vision and ability to address. And if it means enlisting a few more folks to join you, then do it!
Aim small. Focus on one thing and aim for it. And if you miss that mark you will miss small! In other words, when you aim at a target you aim at the center. But if you miss the center but hit the target it makes a difference.
There is a story of an elder teaching a young man to shoot a bow and arrow. He told the boy to shoot an arrow across the river. The young man didn't believe an arrow would go that far. Then the elder told him to shoot the moon. The boy laughed. I can never hit the moon! But the elder told him that if he aims at the moon as it rises across the river, his arrow will go farther than he can imagine. And it did. It missed the moon but it flew across the river.
Over the past weeks I've challenged you to make a difference in small ways. It is these small ways that we change the world. Identify what needs you see in your day-to-day life and make a first small change. Maybe it isn't more than smiling more. Yet it brightens the lives of all you pass. Put your pocket change into a donation box. Along with the pocket change of others, this adds up to a good deal of support for some charity or cause. Don't minimize what you can do.
Most probably there are things you can do that make greater changes than you think. Helping someone learn to read or to balance their checkbook or to cook nutritious foods can change lives.
Reading to little kids so that they learn to love reading can not only change their lives but the lives of others they will influence.
Take seriously the particular gifts, abilities, and passions you have been given. Choose to use to benefit others. What do you love doing? What makes you feel alive? Find a way to use that to heal the brokenness you find in the world around you.
Frederick Beuchner wrote "The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."(1) If this is not your profession, your job, you can find it in volunteer work or in art or the way you function in your family or at work. Everyone is not called to the mission field in some far-off country. Most of us find our calling in our surroundings, our community, our organizations. Aim small. Make a difference where you are.
For us is only the trying. The rest is not our business. Not every need we touch will be filled. It will be changed in some way, however, for the better. We are only responsible for our choices, for our deeds, and we cannot guarantee the final outcomes. But we can do our part and encourage others to do theirs.
So let's keep at it. Keep changing the world for the better.
Please share in the comments ways you have been changing the world for the better. And make suggestions of how others can make a difference where they are.
(1) Frederick Buechner, "Vocation," from Wishful Thinking: A theological ABC.