The Things You CAN
Do you ever feel like you can’t do enough to help in the cause for Life?
Maybe you’ve prayerfully set aside an amount of your very well deserved earnings to donate. Maybe you’ve volunteered some of your spare time to work at a pregnancy center. Maybe you’ve talked to your neighbors, friends, and family. Yet despite any of that, do you still feel your heart yearning to be even more a part of the solution? Whether we’re already active in this cause and looking for more, or we have yet to figure out the way to get started, it can be hard to figure out what that next – or first – step can be.
So here’s a suggestion of a great principle to live by that I’ve heard great leaders speak of, and it goes like this:
Don’t let the things you CAN’T do stop you from doing the things you CAN.
I think this principle can powerfully enable us and encourage us in many areas of life. Very little in life is an all-or-nothing affair. And the truly important causes that we find in life, that tug our heartstrings, haunt our dreams, and spark ambition for being a positive influence, are definitely not all-or-nothing.
An all-or-nothing attitude can leave us paralyzed and inactive. Worse yet, it can leave us feeling defeated. Defeatism can bring awful consequences. As Christians we are reminded that God’s Spirit gives us not timidity, but power, boldness, love, and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7).
And, better yet, the very famous and well-loved verse of Philippians 4:13 points out that, with God, all things are possible. He is our strength. We usually think of applying that to dire, emergency situations, hoping in God’s strength to cope with trials of life. But what about the more everyday things, or tasks that we want to be able to carry out? If it’s a righteous cause, will the Lord not give us the strength and the ability to get it done?
Take a look at your life – your talents, your available time, your resources and wealth, and your influence – and assess the ways that you can accomplish something just as things are.
Here are a couple practical applications, if you’ve ever found yourself feeling stuck or defeated, yet wanting to do more:
1. Know who is doing the work: What we do in life matters, but it’s God’s power behind our actions that makes the biggest difference.
2. Don’t underestimate prayer: Prayer is powerful (James 5:16), and there can be no such thing as too much of it when you pray for things you know matter to the Lord. Prayer keeps your head and heart in the battle!
3. Never forget the impact of Christian legacy: The impact you can make on a daily basis, with intentional, Jesus-centered, passionate living in the presence of your circles of influence, is profound. And it creates a ripple effect that can last long past your own lifetime.
I think a way to summarize these three points, which can each be unpacked into so much more discussion, is to think of a seed. A seed, you ask? Why something so small?
Exactly. When you get down to it, each of our lifetimes is a speck along history’s timeline. And each day’s actions, words, and ideas are minuscule in comparison. Yet, just as a seed is a tiny thing when it goes into the ground, it can become a sprawling orchard over time. It grows into a plant or tree, and that plant or tree produces more seeds in its blossoms or fruit. Our actions, too, have an exponential impact. God doesn’t usually call us to be earth-movers. But he’s given each of us the chance to plant seeds through our lives.
There’s an old anonymous Greek proverb that says,
“Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
Maybe a better spiritual twist on that could be:
“A nation is blessed when families plant Godly legacies which they know will outlive them.”
So remember, when all else fails, you can still plant a seed. God will do the rest! Do the things you CAN!
“The more concerned we become over the things
we can’t control, the less we will do
with the things we can control.”
- Coach John Wooden
Author: Jeff Ulrich
Jeff is a husband, father, and graduate school student. He attends Hope Lutheran in Oconomowoc. Jeff’s background in ministry education and future in the counseling field reflect a heart that loves to serve others and make a difference. He shares his personal or spiritual reflections in his own time at www.missionpossiblejeffulrich.blogspot.com
12/13/2015 11:05:11 pm
The next hardest step compared to finishing is starting. Sometimes I just need to stop my brain from imagining all the possible outcomes and methods, pick something, try it, and adjust along the way. We really do learn best by doing. Thanks for the shove in the right direction!
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