I’ve been back from Cambodia for less than a week now, but the streets of Cambodia linger in my mind like a disease. I can see the children climbing through the mosh pit of traffic to beg for money in the streets. Many parents will punish their children if they come home empty-handed, and for some their financial situation is so dire that they will sell their daughters into sex trafficking to pay a bill.
I never imagined the kind of conditions people were living in around the world. I’ve seen the commercials fundraising for children in Africa before, and you probably have, too. The problem is that we filter those images with the same processing capabilities we use to filter everything else we see on TV. Our minds interpret those very real situations on the same level they interpret crazy movie affects.
Our minds tell us, “Don’t worry, none of this is real.”
Well, it was real. It was very, very real. And it is real right now to millions of people.
Ever since I got off the plane and stepped back into this world of instant gratification, I’ve been asking myself, “What can I do to make a difference? What can I do to make someone else’s life just a little better?”
What I’ve discovered is a new passion for people–a challenge to impact everyone I meet in some small way.
Every single person has a purpose for their life, and God has strategically put you in a place of influence with your friends, co-workers, and the acquaintances you pass on a weekly basis. God has given you the ability to make a difference wherever you’re at, simply by being like Christ.
“Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.”
Catherine of Siena
I frequently make the mistake of thinking, “When I have a really big opportunity to share Christ, then I’ll do it. Maybe if God really shows up and tells me to do it then I’ll go pray for that person in the grocery store.” The thing is that God has already given me the huge opportunity to share Christ! God orchestrated those people to be in my path—me, out of billions of other people in the world. And I could be the very reason they’re standing where they are—because God wants me to make a difference in their life.
I can’t help but wonder how many people God has put in my path that I’ve missed, simply because I was waiting for God to do something He already did. The Bible is a book about evangelism–so why am I always waiting for confirmation that God wants me to evangelize? It makes no sense! That’s because it’s an excuse. It shifts the responsibility from us to God, but let’s be clear: the responsibility is on us. God would take every opportunity to minister to people if He could.
I have had experiences in my life where I had to make the decision to reach out to someone, and not in a “smile across the foyer” way, but actually taking the time to share the love of Christ with them. It was hard for me to do, but every time ended with an amazing story of how God put me in the right place at the right time. In fact, those simple conversations brought people to know Christ and even reached people who were on the verge of suicide.
After I reached out to these people and heard their stories, it became clear to me how selfish I was for not wanting to share the good news that’s changed my life with someone else. The excuse that once felt so cement, the embarrassment that tried to hinder me from reaching out, all of it now seemed worthless.
God has a plan for you. Where you’re at, the people you know, the strangers you pass by—those aren’t coincidences. It doesn’t take much to make someone’s life a little bit better.
Be bold. Be courageous. Stop waiting for the “magic green light” and GO! Do what God’s called you to do! Big change starts with small actions.
Image found on Google images.