I subscribe to a newsletter from the Daily Good. Each day, they’ll send a quote and an inspirational story. For the most part, it’s pretty good stuff. Today, the quote resonated with me.
Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
Augustine of Hippo
Pay attention to what Augustine is saying here. We can’t help everyone. Most of us know that. We have limitations like money and time. We’d love to help, but it’s just not possible. But here’s where Augustine differs from our normal thinking.
He’s saying, we may not be able to help everyone, but there are people specifically designed for us to help. And they aren’t hidden.
They are right in front of us.
For whatever reason, we like to complicate things. We make loving others more difficult than it should be in a variety different ways. But the one I’ve been thinking about lately has been “the calling”. Normally, this calling is thought to be accompanied by a “sign” or “feeling”. I want to be careful, because I think we can be called to do certain things, but hear me out.
I’ve told this story before, but when I was in college there were many times I didn’t exactly want to go to class. I’d get in my car and brainstorm plenty of reasons why I shouldn’t go. I would go so far as to search for a sign not to go. I’d say to myself, “If I get stopped by a red light, that’s it” or “If I circle the lot twice and there’s not spots, I’m gone.” Of course, the lights would be green and there would always end up being a great spot! I’d know the right thing to do, but I would search for a reason not to do it.
Unknowingly, I think we do this same thing when it comes to laying down our lives for others. We want to have a holy heart attack when we see someone or get that really big gut feeling or have something miraculous happen to confirm that we should indeed help them. Again, I’m not saying there aren’t times people are called, but I think there should be a better way of determining to help someone lest we get our signals mixed up with indigestion.
The awareness of a need and the capacity to meet that need: This constitutes a call.
John R. Mott
There is some wisdom to what Mott says there. Obviously, we can not help everyone. However, there are needs that are placed in our lives on a daily basis that we may overlook or leave for someone else. Sometimes God calls people to be the answer to a prayer.
How intentional are you about listening for needs?
Do you find yourself waiting for that calling when maybe it’s right there in front of you?