Page and I saw something on TV recently that grabbed my attention. A man in Ohio has taken on a cause. His cause is literacy for poor and at-risk children. Here’s how the idea came to him. He and his very young daughter were giving away some of her books. A certain child happened by, whereupon the daughter said: “Hi! You want one of these books?” The other child answered: “Really? All my own? I’ve never had a book before.” The dad said the little child held it in her hands like it was fourteen carat gold, eyes wide as a huge grin spread across her face. When she walked away, his daughter asked, “Daddy, is that true? How can any kid not have books?” At that moment, he said, he sensed a Calling. He would organize efforts to put books in the hands of young children who might have none of their own. He has found “a” cause. Maybe it is not earth-changing, but it could be for the children who have no access to reading materials at home. Maybe it will not end world hunger or bring about world peace, but it will make the world a more informed, imaginative, and fascinating place for the children whom he and his daughter help.
What inspired me about that story was that it is something we can all do. I don’t mean we should all adopt his Calling as our own. What I mean is that we can all do something, if just one thing, to make life better for people. And we do not all have to do the same things. I tend to lean more toward issues related to children or environmentalism. Those are great issues, but countless others are equally pressing. Whereas I feel led to try and help the lot of the very young (who are by nature vulnerable), others feel led to help the lot of the very old (who are likewise vulnerable). Some have a passion to address hunger, others homelessness. Some champion gender equality while others stand up against prejudice based on sexual orientation. Some are political activists, others social activists, others personal activists (i.e., they find ways to help people one at a time – like through providing books to individual kids, or tutoring students, or visiting residents in assisted care facilities). I say it so much you must tire of hearing it, but it is something we cannot afford to forget: None of us can do everything, but all of us can do something! And when we all cast our weight behind worthy efforts (even different efforts), the cumulative effect is that we build a better, brighter, more beautiful world.
Paul talked about something akin to that when he wrote that we are “the body of Christ, and individually members of it.” Some, he noted, are eyes, others ears. Some are hands, others feet. Each member has a different function, but cumulatively they work together to make the whole body healthy and sound. (I Corinthians 12)
So, let me encourage you to find a cause. You really don’t have to do everything. In fact, by trying to do so, you can truly spread yourself too thin. There is an old Quaker adage that says: “You cannot be crucified on every cross.” Pick an issue. Find something you can do, somewhere you can contribute, some impact you can make, some group you can assist, some way you can help – and then, as Nike puts it, “just do it!” By all of us pitching in where we can as we can, together God can use us to change the world.