Monday, May 2, 2016

Paying Special Attention to Those in My Circle


"Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who by accidents of time or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you." Augustine

Sex-trafficking victims. Orphans. The homeless. Tsunami and earthquake survivors. Tribal folks without the Bible in their own language. The illiterate, the hungry, the lost. There are so very many people in the world, with so very many needs. 

As God's people we {ought to} feel compassion and concern, and the desire to help... but even the more "vanilla" trials and tragedies right next door of cancer, divorce, unemployment, and death leave us with more needs to  meet than we could ever possibly hope to in this lifetime. 

Then add the fact that your hands feel tied; limited resources, time the most pronounced. You feed your family three meals a day, keep their clothes clean, care for your home, and spend many a sleepless night....

How do we begin to make a dent in the needs? How can we radiate the love of Christ and make some small difference in the world for His Kingdom?

These words from Augustine of Hippo give me hope. 

I cannot do good to all- at least, not in the most literal sense.


But everyday the Lord, by divine appointment, puts me into direct contact with other people. Most frequently, my husband and children. But also neighbors, clerks in the grocery store, other moms and kids at the park, the elderly woman sitting in front of us at church.

If I focus in on the opportunity right in front of me, I can meet a need and show the love of Christ here and now. Faithfulness in the little things, in the little things right in front of our noses, is usually where we can best serve.

Let's not despise the day of little things.

You may not be able to write a big check, travel across the world, or devote your waking moments to the widows and orphans...

...but you could perhaps make a meal for the hurting woman down the street, offer to drive that elderly man to his doctor appointment, and faithfully care for the family God has given you. And maybe even send smaller checks to feed the hungry, rescue the trafficked, and shelter the homeless.

It feels a bit cliche, even trite. Truly, though- all we really can do is walk humbly and in obedience to our God, right here, right now. This is what that looks like for most of us.

Definitely you can pray. God has commanded it of us, and our awareness of the world's needs ought to drive us to our knees every day.

In the mean time, let's make a special effort to notice the people who God brings into closer connection with us. Let's be faithful to meet their needs as the Lord enables us, and to do good to all of those He's brought into our circle.

I'm beginning {almost} every Monday morning of 2016 with words from a "great mind"- encouraging quotes from believers who have finished the course before us, running well to the end. My prayer is that they will give both you and me the boost we need to start our week both hopeful and fixed on Jesus.


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