GOD CAN USE ANYONE, anywhere, anytime.
He might not want all of us to get P.H.D.s or move to the other side of the world, and you don’t have to be a televangelist or a best-selling author in order to live a great life (not to belittle anyone.) Take Jesus for example. He spent most of his earthly life in his small hometown, and people were surprised that he even knew how to read. He wasn’t married, wasn’t very attractive, and wasn’t a stranger to sorrow. He chose illiterate fishermen and social outcasts to be his companions.
Neither of my grandfathers had college degrees or ordinations. What they did was common but also very important. They labored patiently to provide for their families and to put food on other people’s tables in the process.
After serving in the military, my father’s father built a successful business, and today the profits help to support charities near and far. He was always generous and ready to give. His door was wide open to friends and strangers alike. (By the way, in the Bible, hospitality is listed among the special gifts of the Holy Spirit, just like prophecy and healing).
My mother’s father had a huge responsibility with more than a dozen “disciples” (his children), but he still made time every week, on his one day off, to visit the inmates of the local jail. When a drunk man interrupted a worship service at church, my grandfather decided to take him home. My grandmother washed and mended his clothes while my grandfather told him about Jesus. It was a simple thing to do. There was no fuss about it and no applause. But this dear man’s heart was changed, and many years later he sent them a letter to tell them that he had become a preacher of the good news of salvation.
Let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.–1st John 3:18 NKJV
Little things are more important than they seem. Little things can make a big difference. A smile. A touch. A $15 donation. A word, spoken in the right way at the right time. A cup of cold water. (You don’t have to watch It’s A Wonderful Life to know this.)
“I must be about my father’s business,” Jesus said–and so must I. I am my brother’s keeper. But I neglect my family and my neighbors and fail to notice the opportunities in my backyard because of narcissism and nearsightedness. Being about my father’s business and being my brother’s keeper might mean handing someone a Bible and offering them a ride to church. It might mean cleaning toilets. It might mean fasting on another person’s behalf. It might mean a leisurely walk, Chinese takeout and a movie.
Stop and look around you. Use your imagination.
The old saying, “charity begins at home,” is trite but true.
Maybe you long to go to a foreign country, but you’re stuck where you are. Well, guess what? There are whole communities of refugees here. If you can’t go to the mission field, God might bring the mission field to you. Future leaders from all over the world are coming to our universities. If you live in the city, you’re a prime candidate to adopt some international students. Invite them to your house for dinner, show them around, get to know them. You’ll learn as much from them as they will from you. It could forever change your life as well as theirs.
Maybe you long to adopt orphans, but you’re unable. You can cheaply and easily sponsor children through organizations like Compassion International. My older sister and her husband have decided to sponsor a child for every child God gives them–a little girl for a little girl, a little boy for a little boy, the same ages. Their children see the other children’s pictures on the refrigerator and pray for them at bedtime.
The next time a solicitor calls, try answering the phone. If there’s a real person on the other end of the line, and if you can get a word in, tell them that Jesus died to save them.
Tithe. Intercede. Fill a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child. Donate blood to the Red Cross. Find a pen pal. Send care packages to soldiers. Buy groceries for a single mother, fix her car, mow her lawn…
Or think about the old folks’ home in your area–probably within walking distance–probably a depressing place full of the dying and the forgotten. There are lost and lonely souls there who are almost out of time. Get a manicuring kit. Learn some card games. Cheer them up with a homemade pie or fresh flowers from your garden. Spend an hour reading to someone who is too weak to read for themselves.
God can use anyone, anywhere, anytime.