Do SOME-thing!!

Written by cycleguy on November 17th, 2010

I have to admit: this was a hard chapter for me to blog on.  I wrestled with what to say that is not repetitious.  But what helps are two quotes:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  MLK, Jr.

Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything. Bob Pierce (found of World Vision)

I want to be honest here: sometimes I get this feeling of being overwhelmed by all that is taking place in the world and all that is needed to “fix” the problems.  Like many most probably all of you I receive countless invitations to join this-or-that effort to help “change the world” or “make a difference.”  I also need to be honest about my reaction: sometimes most often I callously flip the envelope, invitation or flier into the garbage can without even breaking the seal.  I grow weary of the many invites that need help.  I want to scream, “Leave me alone! Save your money that you spend on these mailings and use it for something else.”  I know, I know, pretty calloused.  Pretty cold.  And yes, pretty much un-Christlike.  No need to throw that hypocrisy blanket over me…again. I have already done that with the personal accusations.

But what keeps me sane is the one or two outreach ministries I do help.  Limited funds (been there?) require that I pick-and-choose who I do help and how often.  Besides my local church, one that I do help from time to time has been International Justice Mission.  Their primary mission is rescuing girls from a life in the gutter from the sex/slave trade.  Gary Haugen has written several books but the only one I have read is Just Courage, subtitled “God’s Great Expedition for the Restless Christian.”  I am a father of two grown daughters and the grandfather of a 4-year old grandson.  I cannot imagine how their lives would be totally different, and one of despair, if they had been raised groomed for the sex trade.  My heart breaks for the girls (and even boys) caught in this web of ugliness.  I know organizations like IJM are trying to make a difference.  I receive information from time to time telling me how many girls were rescued with the hope of being given a new life.   I help when/if I can.

I am not writing this for a pat on the back.  Truth be known: I wish I could do more-financially, personally-but I can’t.  I can pray.  I can give when I am able.  I can promote.  But what I cannot do should not do is stand on the sidelines.  John Stuart Mill stated, “Christians seem to have the amazing ability to say the most wonderful things without actually believing them.” He goes on to give a list of things that Christians (like me) actually say-like, blessed are the poor and humble; it’s better to give than to receive;  judge not, lest you be judged; love your neighbor as yourself, etc-and examining, one by one, how differently I would live my life if I actually believed such things. He concluded: “The sayings of Christ co-exist passively in their minds, producing hardly any effect beyond what is cause by mere listening to words so amiable and bland.”  (Quoted in Just Courage-page 9-10). Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you he wrote that in 1859.

It is sometimes hard looking into the mirror and seeing the truth about yourself.  It is even harder looking into the mirror of God’s Word and seeing the truth. It is even worse to look & see and walk away unaffected.  [James 1:22-27]

Thanks for letting me open my heart to you today. Long story short: it is hard to see that so much needs done and not feel overwhelmed. God has not asked us to take on every task out there.  But He has asked us to be involved.  Find one/pick one and get busy doing what you can when you can. Any thoughts you care to share after reading this?  Please feel to comment.

This post is part of the book discussion of The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns and hosted by my blogging friends Jason and Sarah.  If you would like to read more posts on this chapter from the book please visit Jason’s site for other participants.


45 Comments so far ↓

  1. Jim F. says:

    I think when I hear so many things and see so many needs I become the squirrel caught in the middle of the road with the car coming. I am bouncing back and forth, not knowing whether to to go right or left and if I do not do something I will be run over.

    I too have very limited funds and just do what I can. We have picked over very specific things and give that way.

    By the way – loved the quotes today – they are all great – especially the ones by John Stuart Mill.

    Good post!

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you for sharing this Bill. I too am overwhelmed and don’t know quite what to say. So much to do.

  3. Tom Raines says:

    Some things are worth repeating and yes, I so wish I could do more. I regret that my self gratification has cost others so much and robbed God from the intended purposes of those blessings. But, hey, do what I can do now and look at gifts differently today. May the Spirit guide us to give where we should and can. Thanks Bill!

    • cycleguy says:

      Tom: I think we all wish we could do more. We have to do what we can with what we have. Praying for the Spirit’s guidance. Thanks for commenting.

  4. Ani says:

    Okay, I have been there and found out it’s not the way God wants it. I found out that even I don’t see it He does use ALL people for His cause. So I just pray what He wants me to help and the others I can let go now. Even when I pray a lot for many people and charities I can’t even pray for all. Have to be careful and take care otherwise we might become useless.

    • cycleguy says:

      It is so good to hear from you Ani! I knew you were going to be gone but sure did miss hearing from you. You are right about not being able to do all. thanks so much for visiting again!

  5. Jan Frame says:

    Good post, I get very overwhelmed here at school just looking at and thinking about some of these kids who have great needs and worrying about who, if anyone is meeting these needs. I try to do what I can in secret, but cannot do what I would like because of that darn money thing…..and sometimes it’s not material things they need, it’s emotional support, so I have decided that prayer is the way to go, I KNOW God will hear me, and I KNOW God will take care of the needs. The needs in this world are definitely overwhelming, I just pray that God will use me in whatever capacity He sees fit for me, even if it’s just praying. Prayer is powerful.
    (Hope your AT&T situation got handled, Michael was on the phone once for over 2 hours with them.. very very frustrating!)

    • cycleguy says:

      Jan; I think working in a school can be very heartbreaking at times. You see all kinds of kids. So glad that your heart is sensitive enough to at least pray for them even when you can’t give the support you would like to. Always nice having you come by.

  6. Love this post Bill…just love it. Real and raw and yes tis the season…I’ve already received many pleas of help for the Christmas season…operation Christmas child, world vision, toys for tots, salvation army, the local food bank…on and on the list goes of many AMAZING charities..I can’t give to all, well maybe I can give some to all..but how do I decide who gets my help? Great, amazing thoughts…

    • cycleguy says:

      Julie: Tis the season for sure! Seems like every day gets one or two requests and it makes your heart break when you can’t do more. Wish I knew how to tell you to know which ones. 🙂 Thanks for your always welcome visit.

  7. I pretty well stink at being a Christian. Seriously. That’s what frustrates me about the realization that a huge amount of “being a Christian” is doing the things for people that Christ would do. We’ve simplified Christianity to “it’s just a relationship with Christ” to the point that we forget that our treatment of other people is totally illustrative of our true relationship with Christ.

    • cycleguy says:

      Bernard: man, you are so right about the simplification thing. i wonder if that is because we are afraid to lose people if we asked them to be obedient in tangible ways? Thanks for your honest thoughts.

  8. *~Michelle~* says:

    First…I must copy/paste what I wrote on Glynn’s blog after reading your comment

    Awwwwwwww Bill (Cycleguy)… just made my heart thumpa thumpa.

    What a sweet suggestion….

    Have I told you that you ROCKED lately?!?

    As far as that overwhelming feeling I know too well…..I try to refocus and remember the famous Mother Teresa quote:

    Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.


    If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.

    We are on a VERY strict budget….but we do sponsor a little girl in Rwanda through World Vision. I love getting her letters/updates….just knowing that we are making a difference in one child’s life.

    I am going to post soon about the Operation Christmas Child (shoebox) that Nev just put together….she had so much fun picking out the items. It also showed her that the trivial things we take for granted (toothpaste, toothbrush, tissues) will bring joy to someone where these are luxuries.

    ……yet another small gesture we can do that bring enormous blessings to another.

    • cycleguy says:

      Michelle: here’s to hoping you get that book. 🙂 Jo & I both do a shoebox-her a girl and I take a boy (since I have never had one of my own except now I have a grandson). It will be a lesson Nev will never forget. Small is better than nothing. thanks for coming by.

  9. Point on.

    If all we do is focus on one tree (one person, one ministry, one need) it is better than if we remain still gazing at the forest without doing anything.

  10. Jason says:

    Good thoughts here Bill. Our family gives what little we can to where we feel led to give.

  11. jasonS says:

    You are so right. We often let what we can’t do determine what we do end up doing (which sadly, is often nothing). Whether it’s helping the poor, evangelism, loving, caring, whatever–if we would get a vision for helping one, the world would be turned upside down. Great thoughts. Thanks for your honesty, Bill.

    • cycleguy says:

      jason: you bring to mind the old saying “can’t never did anything.” sure applies here. Love you comment about helping and turning upside down.

  12. Kim says:

    I for sure have felt like a deer in the headlights when faced with the issues in the world. A good reminder that it’s not all on me to fix, help, or do.

  13. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    I was reading in Deuteronomy 30 the, Song of Moses, yesterday. It certainly does feel that we keep going round and round the same circle as God’s people. Moses in his song says it’s more a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’ God’s people turn their hearts from him.

    It doesn’t surprise me nowadays when you talk about a quote that is so applicable for today that was written in 1859!

    Jesus and his 12 close followers did give out money to the poor from the money they had. It was a part of their ‘good works’ that they did.
    Jesus’ purpose however, commanded by God, was to save man from his sins. I believe that this indeed is the answer to the world’s woe’s.

    • lindaM says:

      oops… it’s Deuteronomy 32.

      Thanks Bill for your posts. You have an amazing mind to keep putting out new challenges for us to reply to nearly every day! It’s good for us who attend your blog site to try and articulate what we believe God’s word says and what we have learned as a Christian over the years. God Bless you and I thank you for your ministry.

      • cycleguy says:

        Linda: I am combining two into one. Good connection to Moses. Glad you liked the quote and saw its application to today. Thanks for your kind words. I try to be God’s conduit for my posts. I know I don’t always succeed but hearing that helps knowing that at times I do “succeed.” Thanks so much for taking the time to comment…twice.

  14. “Do SOME-thing!”

    Amen, spot-on, right on, dig it, you rock, and so when shall we begin?

    Always a pleasure!
    Let The Christian Resistance begin. No, really.

    “Sometimes our lives depend on that which we place faith in. And sometimes faith relies in Whom we are depending.”

  15. I’ll let Mother say it…

    Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go. – Mother Teresa

    Less words…more love

  16. lindaM says:

    Hi Bill,
    It seems that several people on this blog site are feeling overwhelmed with the needs around us and in the world. I think that this may be because the responsibility to meet these needs has been incorrectly placed on the shoulders of the believer through the Church.

    Certainly, we are to help one another as brothers and sisters. We are to remember the poor with our money and other resources we have. But do we bear the responsibility to try and meet the needs of the world? I don’t think so. Jesus did not meet the needs of all the poor that he encountered in his day and during his 3 year ministry. He didn’t heal everyone in Israel that was sick.

    Many of the world’s problems are because of corrupt political leadership and because of greed and corrupt business practices and management. A consequence of the sins of men and what’s now being reaped as a result.

    Giving is very good and we should have giving as a normal part of our Christian life, but I am wondering if the Church (in general) has taken it upon itself to overly emphasize this part of the Christian life.

    A few years ago it was give to the Church. ‘Planting seeds’ Now the emphasis in the Church seems to be to give money and time to charities and other good works.

    What’s needed (I believe) is the growth of the Christian, an increase in God’s love in the Christian’s heart, an increase in devotion to God and his ways through the work of God’s Spirit.

    Everything else comes along naturally when these things are present and flourishing in our lives.
    It seems that we try to do so much in the power of our own flesh. It won’t happen that way. Without the involvment of the Spirit of God, our own works will fall short and fail. Christians are seemingly becoming overwhelmed with guilt, stress, anxiety and hopelessness from this newly emerged church mandate of charitable works.
    I believe this happens in part because of the emphasis on the believers’ responsibility (without the pre-requisite readines by the Spirit)to meet everyone else’s needs. Just some thoughts. What do others think?

    The Song of Moses says that people will return to God under the right circumstances but after a while they will again flatter God with lies from their own mouths. What’s to be done about this?
    What do you think Bill?

    • cycleguy says:

      Linda: First, I think the feeling of being overwhelmed is a natural one. In our humanness we see a need and then realize we cannot meet it. I know Jesus did not heal everyone or meet everyone’s need. But that should not stop us from at least trying to reach as many as we possibly can. This, of course, cannot be done any other way than by the power of the Spirit. As for that last paragraph: I do not see the connection to the post.

  17. David says:

    i will be highlighting this post at the monthly High Calling Around the Network newsletter on Jan 6. Congratulations!

  18. Ann Kroeker says:

    I liked the quote from Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision: “Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything.”

    My mom worked as a journalist her entire life, and she has actually said to me multiple times that she reads the paper and realizes, “Terrible things happen in this world. Terrible, awful things. And there’s not one thing I can do to change them.”

    Like I said, she’s told this to me more than once.

    And I would listen, even when I was young, and think, “But…does that mean we don’t even try?”

    She said it again not long ago, maybe a month or so, and I had that same sick feeling. What if everyone shrugs and says, “I’m just one person…what can I do?”

    If everyone shrugs and says that, if everyone believes there’s not one thing we can do to change the terrible things in this world, we are lost indeed.

    One small action can bring about at least one small change. Contrary to my mother’s perspective, I want to be available and offer myself or my resources when it seems appropriate.

    I’m glad that you see ways to give and promote–that you are encouraging others to do the same.

    Thanks for these thoughts–I’m glad to slip over from today.

    • cycleguy says:

      Ann: thanks for coming over my way. I was honored that David included my post in his wrap up and even more honored that someone (you) would come my way. I am glad that you want to make a difference and be different from your mother’s perspective. Again, thanks for coming by.

  19. karenee says:

    I’m learning how to do this, how to find what I can do and do it, how to reach further when it seems there is a way to connect. And who knows? Little by little may add up to a lot eventually, especially if my life is characterized by sharing and giving. Step by step covers many miles, though I know not the end of the journey.

    • cycleguy says:

      Little by little is right Karenee. Sometimes it is nerve-wracking and faith-testing to keep reaching but it is worth it. Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  20. I came over from THC. No doubt this was and will continue to be a very convicting piece for many of us. Although we give financially and volunteer and serve within our community, I still get so hung-up on the fact that I have a home and food and clothes and clean water and medical supplies, that I oftentimes feel guilty.

    Finding the place where we count & accept our blessings, all while we share with others, that is where I aim to be. Indeed, it’s a journey.


    • cycleguy says:

      SCG: I am honored that you made your way over here from David’s recommendation. Love your last statement. We all,I think, struggle to get to that place. Getting out of our comfort is not always easy. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

  21. Dena Dyer says:

    I love IJM! I work with refugees and they are easily taken advantage of by sex traffickers.

    THANK YOU for posting this. I’m so glad that David featured it at THC. We do need to “do something”–but not all of us will do the same thing. That’s the beauty of the kingdom of God.

    I have to read THIOG…I’ve been meaning to for quite some time!

    • cycleguy says:

      Dena: I have read your “stuff” from HCB. I am honored that you would find your way here. Glad you are active in ministering to others. It is good to hear of feet put to use. My suggestion: pick up a copy of the book. You will NOT be disappointed. CBD has it for $5. Thanks again for coming by to visit and comment.

  22. Dan Roloff says:

    Bill, thanks for this post. These ideas are certainly a common struggle for Christians. That’s why it’s so important to be what God calls us to be. Just as Jesus was tempted in the desert so too we are tempted to be diverted from God’s call on on our lives.

    Know where we are called and live that calling; in other words “be Christian.”

    • cycleguy says:

      Thank you Dan for taking the time to visit and comment. I am honored and humbled that David thought this was worthy enough to even mention. i do agree with you that it is a common struggle and that we all need to do what we can do and not what someone else expects or what we think someone else would want. Thanks again for the visit.