Last week, I tuned in to listen to my favorite minister’s podcast and ended up hearing a guest speaker share a story that blew me away. The person sharing talked about his journey from being a night-club promoter in New York City for many years, to a person who eventually felt the need to do more for the world around him. Long story short, he left his job and all the luxuries it provided him and joined up with a mission that brought free medical care to people in third-world countries. That mission opened his eyes and changed his life. He founded a charity that works to discover and provide clean water sources to places in the world where there are none. He gave up everything about the life that he knew in order to do this.
What blew me away about this man’s message was a combination of two things. The first was that because he feared living the rest of his life as a spiritually bankrupt person, he took drastic measures to change his circumstances. The second was learning that there are children out there in the world who have never had clean water to bathe in or to drink. And, even though the water that is available to them is filled with disease, they still have to drink it in order to survive. I thought about my life today and I suddenly felt a little more wishy-washy than usual about my faith and my gratitude.
Since listening to the message and having this wishy-washy-ness set in, I have thought a lot about my own journey. Since my early days in recovery from addiction, I write out a gratitude list every day. I make it a point to thank others when they help me or touch my heart in some way. I sit with God every morning to start my day by surrendering my will and my life to Him. I do my best to carry His message wherever He wants me to carry it. But, after all that reflection, I had to stop thinking about all I do and ask myself this question: Would I be willing to give up everything in my life in order to do whatever I had to do to get clean water for children I have never met? My honest answer is: “I don’t know.”
Throughout the week, I continued to look to my morning readings and prayers for inspiration and guidance. This morning, I read the following quote in C.S. Lewis’s essay entitled “Why I Am Not a Pacifist” (which you can find in a collection of his speeches and essays entitled, The Weight of Glory):
“I think the art of life consists in tackling each immediate evil as well as we can.”
In speaking about whether a war can bring world peace or, at least hope, Lewis comes to a point where he recognizes that human suffering will never be completely eliminated. And, while there are individuals and groups who go to great lengths to bring about world peace or enormous change for the good in some way, it is those who “work quietly away at limited objectives” that truly change the world. Needless to say, a sigh of relief set in as I realized that the I’m-not-good-enough message that entered my being this past week was unfounded and untrue.
It is in the one-day-at-a-time moments of my life that I am able to help others. It is in what I write or share honestly with people who are struggling with their addictions that aids in carrying the message that has been carried to me. It is in giving back through service to the organization that saved my life that I keep it going for the next addict who needs it, that I chip away at helping to save the world.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t someday head out to Africa to help people who were born in to circumstances less fortunate than my own. If it is God’s will, I am certain I will do it. This doesn’t mean that I won’t do what I can today to respond to a message like the one I heard last week by donating money, or asking others to donate money to support the mission of that cause. This doesn’t mean that I will rationalize staying stuck in comfortable living the next time I feel a nudge from God. It just means I will keep helping where I am helping today and leave the crappy self-talk behind. If I am going to trust God, I have to trust all of His messages. Sometimes that might mean staying put in a bit of hum-drum living. It might mean waiting patiently to receive His guidance. And, it absolutely means I need to let go of my desires to be seen and heard by others, so that I can be fully available and present in my relationship with God. That way, when He offers a message, I will be open to it and ready to receive it. For today, that is what I can do to chip away at saving the world.
I don’t want my blog to be about promotion, but because this man’s story touched my heart so deeply, I feel the need to share it with whoever may be reading this.
To hear Scott Harrison’s message via his visit to North Point Community Church, click here:
To learn more about Charity Water, click here: https://www.charitywater.org/
Thank you for reading.
Hey Jessica- before I finished reading your post I thought of Dr Harrison! We used to be members of the same church. Small world 🌎 Thanks for the reminder to be of maximum service wherever God has me 💕☀️Karen
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Wow! That is a small world! And also a very cool world!!! 🙂