We’ve all had a longing for something greater. A feeling of, “I’m meant for something more than what I’m doing now.” Maybe you’ve wanted to quit school just so you can go out and do something “worthwhile,” or to move to a third world country across seas to be a missionary so that your efforts to help others will be clearly felt.
But our desires are not always meant to be fulfilled immediately. Sometimes, God wants you right where you are. When I am feeling restless and discouraged that I can’t do anything meaningful, I ask myself this question, “Why would God have put me here if He didn’t have a plan and a purpose for me? For those around me? Is there really no possible way to serve His people right where I am?”
Think of all of the people who have made an impact on your life. Most likely, they have not come from overseas to administer to you. Think of your friend at school who has decided to be cheerful on a day when everyone else was groaning about their homework, or the kids who help out with your youth group, and have inspired you by their service. Think of the times your Mom comforts you with her words and touch when you’ve had a rough day, or how an older sibling brings you on outings and makes you feel special. When we see these people on an everyday basis, it can be hard to notice just how much of a difference they make in our lives. Yet, when we do take a moment to stop and appreciate them, it should make us want to do the same for others.
I think the hardest things to do are sometimes the smallest things.
Let’s take a situation we are all probably familiar with: You’re talking to your friends longingly about your dreams of becoming a missionary, or some other grand plans you have for life when you grow up, and you tell them that you feel called to love people and care for them in a big way; but when your little sister bursts into the room and starts excitedly telling you about her adventures outside, you snap at her, almost without thinking, and tell her that she has no right to come barging into your room. You are irritated at having been interrupted and are anxious to get back to the conversation with your friends. You want to return to talking about how you are going to serve Him someday.
But is this really loving Jesus? Sure, you’re eagerly discussing your desire to serve Him–but where is that thought being put into action now? When you rudely turned your sister away, you missed an opportunity to exhibit love to her and to possibly be an example to your friends of what love among siblings should look like.
Maybe someday your prayers will be answered, and you will be able to proclaim the Gospel of the Lord in far off places and experience living amongst the poor, and share their struggles. But until then, you can begin to practice for those big feats by doing the good you can in your everyday life right now, no matter how little that may be.
So let’s begin to truly love our neighbors, even when it hurts … until it hurts, in fact. If we are faithful in little things, surely then Our Heavenly Father will entrust us with the more difficult tasks involving the spread of His kingdom!
1 Corinthians 13:1-8 (NABRE) “If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal….if I have all faith so as to move mountains but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.”
Madeline Elyse – Column: Encouragement & Motivation