The needs all around us can be overwhelming. Human trafficking. Homelessness. Bigotry. Abuse. Poverty. Lack of access to God’s Word, and to the salvation Jesus died to make available to all.
Where do you start? And where do you stop?
I’d suggest that the answers to those questions are anywhere, and nowhere.
I understand that most of us feel like we’re at our limits already. Living demands so much from us — our time, talents, energy and money. How can we possibly do more?
You and I cannot.
However, God’s love is infinite, His resources are limitless, and He’s free from the bounds of time. When you’re doing God’s work, He will take care of the bills. He makes the time. He pours unfettered energy into our lives. He brings people alongside to help.
You can best discover that truth by embracing it. However, I have found that it also works if you just sort of stand at a distance and reluctantly hold its hand, sweating nervously, like a boy at his first dance.
It worked for me when a friend was injured recently. He’s a friend who needs to see the love of Jesus lived out before him. I asked God, “How can I do that?” When He answered, I felt like that little boy. I wanted to let go, run and hide. But I held on, and I offered to help watch my friend’s shop over the weekend, to give him time to recover.
Then the worry swept in. It was a long drive to his shop. A long drive means spending money for gas, as well as for a place to stay overnight and for meals. And it’s a lot of time and effort. Sounds like whining, doesn’t it? Yes, I whined at God.
Full of grace and mercy, He reassured me that He is capable of providing, especially when we’re obedient and serving Him.
At the same time, we need to remember that meeting needs does involve a cost for us. God will provide, but perhaps not in the manner to which we are accustomed, or in the way we want. We might have less time for other things — even for things we deem important. We might have to lower our standard of living, or postpone or cancel a purchase we were saving for.
No, I don’t really like that either. At times I’d like to be able to say to God, “Hey, hasn’t this cost me enough?” I’ve given up some things in order to meet the needs of others, as you certainly have too. And I’m sure we could all talk about hardships we’ve endured while serving Him. Isn’t there some limit to how much He can ask of us?
Well, no. He gave His own Son so that we could have eternal, abundant life. He gives us all we have and all we are — down to our next breath. My possessions? They’re not mine. They’re His. My time? It’s not mine. It’s His. My money? Wrong again.
More importantly, my limits are not God’s limits.
We should live in that reality, but we’re human. We’re flawed. We’ll have to forcibly remove our focus from ourselves and put it back on God.
And when we do, we’ll be able to live and give generously, and have peace about how we are using the resources God has put into our care. We won’t need to feel guilty about saying no. There’s no reason to lose sleep over even more needs.
Even better, we’ll be ready to respond when He nudges us, because we will hold everything in an open hand, not a closed fist.