I have another confession.
I hope you people appreciate these. It so goes against my nature to reveal my “hidden” weaknesses. But for all I know, my friends and family are reading this and thinking, “Geesh, why does it take her so long to realize she’s not hiding anything? We can see those flaws with our eyes closed!”
So here’s the latest. Very often when I see something huge – a problem that seems as large as the national debt, a need that never seems satisfied, a book with more than three hundred pages, a bathroom scale that says I need to lose about half my current body weight – anything that seems insurmountable (big word that means big), my first reaction is to ignore it. Now, writing that rather large, run-on sentence didn’t bother me much at all. But even I realize how idiotic it sounds to admit I try to ignore the obvious.
In my whacky mind the thought process goes something like this: It’s too big. It’s too difficult. I couldn’t even make a dent in that. What can one person do? At this point in the conversation with myself God will interrupt and gently remind me, as He has a million times before, the words from Philippians 4:13 – I can do everything by the power of Christ. He gives me strength. (NIrV)
Apparently even when I think I’m doing it alone, I’m not. It’s the power of Christ in me that allows me to work. And I don’t think there is anything in the fine print that says I have to solve every problem all alone! The entire project is not my responsibility! Let me say that again. THE ENTIRE PROJECT IS NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY!!!
I am only responsible for the portion God directs me to do. He doesn’t expect me to solve world hunger all on my own. He does however expect me to honor my commitment of monthly support for Adrian, my Compassion International child in the Dominican Republic. And I can buy a few extra groceries to be combined with someone else’s extra groceries and so on, that will fill the shelves of local food pantries and eventually make their way to the tables and into the tummies of families who need them. One person, acting faithfully to God’s calling, can help change the direction of one life, and in turn they can help change the direction of another life and the cycle continues until many lives are forever changed.
It reminds me of a not-so-funny joke. Q. How do you eat an elephant? A. One bite at a time.
The same principle applies when facing those seemingly impossible and daunting tasks.
Q. How do you move a mountain? A. One shovel of dirt at a time.
Q. How do you read a thousand-page novel? A. One word, sentence, page at a time.
I think you get the picture. I’m learning to focus my attention on what God is leading me to do, first of all. Then just take it one small step at a time.
Our pastor, Steven Gibbs, shared from John 6 in his message on December 13th (listen to it here). It’s the recounting of Jesus feeding a rather large number of people with practically no resources. First of all there were five thousand men (plus women and children). Maybe as many as twenty thousand, total. Jesus called one of His followers over and asked him, “What are WE going to do to feed these people?” Well, at this point disciple with the front row seat made a comment that sounded similar to my self-conversation. “This job is too big for us. It would take us working eight months to have enough money just to give each person one little bite of food!” Jesus already knew what He was going to do but He invited the disciples to join Him so they could witness the power of God in action and the benefits of obedience. Another disciple found a little boy with a lunch of five small loaves and three fish – think biscuits and sardines not Sunbeam and salmon. Who thinks the little boy with the small lunch could feed twenty thousand people all alone? I don’t think he could. But when he surrendered it to Jesus it became so much more than just a small lunch. As a matter of fact everyone ate their fill and they had leftovers you can’t believe!
Lesson here, when we turn over what we have been given, God will use it to accomplish what we never could alone. Now that could be a few cans of green beans and a bag of rice, or the spare change you’ve collected all year in the jar on your dresser, or even little snippets of time when you lend a helping hand to someone in need. Whatever God has given you will go so much further when we give it back to Him. Then we, like the little boy with the little lunch have the privilege of seeing the power of God and the benefit of obedience – lives are changed forever!