“What does God require of us?”
Kimberly Wagner asks a question many of us contemplate often in her article “You Can’t Help Everyone; But You Can Help Someone” for Revive Our Hearts.
Does he require that we give money to the homeless person on the street corner? Does he require that we volunteer in the church nursery every week? Does he require that we mentor a student, make meals for our neighbors, coach the soccer team, and serve at the local food pantry? Does he require that we move overseas to love orphans?
“Where does my responsibility begin and end?” Wagner asks, and I often wonder the same thing.
When we look at the world around us, we see brokenness at every turn. We see orphans and refugees in need of love and care, we see floods leaving whole communities homeless, we see teens rebelling and running away, and it can start to feel overwhelming. Can we even make an impact, when the hurt and need seems so big and we know our own abilities are so small in comparison?
“We can't take home every lost soul we find,” Wagner says. “We can't mend every broken heart and meet every desperate cry. We can't minister to all who need a healing balm, but we minister to those God entrusts to us, in what manner and for what season that He supplies the grace and opportunity.”
Wagner shares a story straight from the gospel of Luke that gives us further insight into what our responsibility is as Christians. In Luke 4:25-30, we see that there were many lepers in Israel, as well as many widows and many hungry people because of the great famine. Despite all the need, only one leper was healed: Naaman the Syrian.
“Whenever I want to bring another little one home, take in a troubled teen, or take on the task of finding shelter for all the homeless in our community… I remember that even the Savior of the world didn’t heal every illness or rescue every child in need,” says Wagner. “There were many lepers when God sent the prophet to bring the healing message to one. Only one.”
The beautiful thing about letting go of the burden to care for everyone and do everything is that it allows you to truly do things well. As much as we might want to, we cannot reach everyone and fix everything, but we can reach someone and fix something. It’s no secret that we aren’t superheroes with endless power and ample amounts of time and unending resources-- we are limited, but God equips us with exactly what we need for the specific work he has called us to.
When all of us focus on the things God has placed before us, even if it’s just one person or one role or one opportunity, we are living like Jesus and glorifying God. There will be more hurt than we can heal, there will be more needs than we can meet, and there will be more brokenness than we can mend, but instead of letting that overwhelm us, we can let it motivate us to move. We can let the bigness of the need move us closer to the cross in surrender to the only one who can redeem and heal it all.
The weight of the whole world is not on your shoulders, but was taken on the back of our Savior to the cross where he made a way out of the darkness and into a glorious life with him. We can trust that he is at work in our world, moving and healing and showing us areas where we can be his hands and feet.
We can give him our heaviest burdens, we can lift up the names of our neighbors and our loved ones and the strangers we haven’t met yet, and we can start small, right where we are, loving and serving where he has us right now.
“What is His assignment for you today?” Wagner asks. Think on that question today, and instead of trying to solve every problem you see around you, seek to meet the immediate needs before you and love the ones around you.
Publication date: August 29, 2016
Rachel Dawson is the editor of BibleStudyTools.com