One of the greatest tragedies to befall a man is the belief that what he does is irrelevant. The more meaningless life becomes in his head, the quicker his life will mirror the belief. For me, one of the greatest paradoxes of life is the knowledge of how small we are in the universe, but how significant even the smallest of our actions can be. This video can give you a glimpse of the magnitude of the universe.
We may just be a tiny dot in the grand scheme of things, but we have a part in the play. In fact, even the action we believe to be the most insignificant can be life changing or world altering. Two of my previous blogs come to mind:
- Your Small is Someone’s Large – This was my reaction to Vitamin Angels’ guest post. They wrote how: It costs Vitamin Angels just 25 cents per child per year to provide vitamin A and antiparasitic medicine to children in need. That means that for $1, you can provide a child under 5 with enough vitamin A for the four most vulnerable years of their life. Tiny contribution. Life changing consequences.
- Life as a Textbook – One simple act of responsibility by my wife changed the way I look at litter forever.
I bring all this up because this past week I heard another story that emphasizes my point. I was at a leadership conference where they highlighted different social causes. One was Compassion International. They interviewed a 28-year-old (?) man who had been sponsored through Compassion since he was 8. He had lost his dad and his mom was very sick. He had even had to move to his Aunt’s house where he was the eighth child. His life was not going well. At that time, a 20-year-old college student (Mark) from Canada sponsored him for no more than $35 a month. Because of that generosity, the man was now training to be a pastor and was preparing to go back to Kenya to help others. The man had even saved the first letter he had received from the Canadian college student.
It was a touching story, but to top it off they asked him if had ever met his sponsor. “No, I have not”, he replied. And that’s when they brought his sponsor out. You’ve never seen a grown man cry as much and as hard as this man from Kenya. He hugged Mark for about five or ten minutes and they tried to continue the interview. However, he could barely stand and he just sat on the floor bawling. The look in his eyes contained a thousand words. They ranged from inexpressible joy to “I can’t believe I’m meeting you!” to “Thank you!” It was a beautiful moment.
Many of us may never receive that moment. Mark could have never met the man he once sponsored. But would that have changed the significance of what he had done? No. The Kenyan man’s life was forever changed.
Remember the small things. They are never really small. They are just small in the moment. Never believe the lie that says your life is irrelevant. You matter. I matter. People halfway around the world matter. Our lives may just be small notes in the grand symphony of life, but imagine the ugly silence if those notes were removed.
I am often encouraged and inspired as I read the firsthand accounts of people who have given their lives to serving others. As we explore what it means to Become Last, we can all learn from those who have modeled that in one form or another. Over the last couple of months, we’ve heard from Vitamin Angels and the Fissels about their adventures in serving others. If you’d like to read what they wrote, just search for them in the search box at the top and you can read their guest posts. You can also click on their names to go to their websites.
Tomorrow, we have another amazing opportunity! We’ll hear from Nikki, another person who puts compassion into action. She’s a college student in Canada who has a heart for children. I ran across her blog last week (she actually has several) and wanted to give her a chance to share her heart for Becoming Last.
As a free preview (ok, so it’s all free…), here is a link to an encouraging and useful post on her Ethiopia blog. She describes meeting the child she sponsors through WorldVision and the encouragement it was to see the letters and things she had sent her. I would highly encourage reading her post because she recommends several organizations through which you can sponsor a child and some tips for what to write and what to send.
If you’ve never sponsored a child, she provides links to look up information for each group. My wife and I have never actually done this as a couple, but I think we may discuss finding some place in our budget. For some reason, I’ve just never thought long and hard about doing this. Like I’ve said before, it’s just easier not to make the effort sometimes. Life just gets moving and unless we’re intentional about setting aside our time and money we easily forget the difference we could make. That’s been the most encouraging part of this blog. I know a handful of people read this from time to time, but it really helps my family and I put our thoughts and promptings into action.
I hope you’ll come back tomorrow as Nikki shares with us a little of her heart for others. Until then, check out her post I on child sponsorship and enjoy the rest of your Wednesday!
Have you Become Last this week?
I found a cool story in the Vitamin Angels newsletter this month. I love hearing about kids Becoming Last. Here’s the story:
Lemonade for Vitamin Angels
What’s better than lemonade on a hot summer day? Lemonade for a great cause!
8 year old Declan set up a lemonade stand to help teach others about our important work and raised $50! Remember, all it takes is 25 cents to provide one child with vitamin A for a whole year. So in one afternoon, this one child was able to impact the lives of 200 children, and refresh many passersby at the same time! Inspired yet? Get Involved!
What a great example for kids who want to help! Simple, small, yet significant. He helped 200 kids. Awesome! Don’t forget to click our “Help Now” button on the right of the page and have a great Saturday!
Thanks again to Vitamin Angels for guest blogging yesterday. Their blog had me thinking all day yesterday. Particularly this part:
It costs Vitamin Angels just 25 cents per child per year to provide vitamin A and antiparasitic medicine to children in need. That means that for $1, you can provide a child under 5 with enough vitamin A for the four most vulnerable years of their life.
So I got to thinking about that and I realized how I take for granted such small things, like a dollar, when it could be used for four years to provide a child with life-saving nutrients!
Which makes my main excuse…”I don’t have enough to help” invalid. We just live in such a different world that our small is HUGE for a child overseas. It translates to my life in this way…
Do I want that cookie so bad or can I give the dollar instead?
Can I drink water instead of my morning soda?
Biggie size? No thanks, I’d like to help a child.
My goal is to make five small (large to a child overseas) changes to give at least another five dollars away each month. I’m very prone to forgetting these things so I need your help reminding me. Or better yet, would you join with me? Even 5 people sacrificing five bags of chips, cookies, drinks, or Starbucks would help 25 kids for four years. That’s such a small sacrifice, but it’s life-saving for those children.
Becoming Last means sweating the small stuff, one dollar at a time. Thanks to Vitamin Angels (click their “help me” button on the right to help for free!) for all you do!
How can you Become Last today?