Friday, September 16, 2011

Making a Difference in the World

I’ve had an odd turn of events this week. On Wednesday, a strange man showed up at my door asking for money. He claimed to homeless and sleeping in his car, but he smelled to good. And not that I-covered-the-stench-with-cologne good. I’m mean clean good. I told him to try the church on the corner, but instead, he kept going door-to-door. It was just before the elementary school students would be home, so I called the police. The man left before they arrived. As a precaution, I drove to the bus stop to pick up my son.

I put the event out of my mind, but when I arrived home that night from Bible study, the police were patrolling my neighborhood with a spotlight. I live in a fairly quiet neighborhood and the police normally don’t come when we call, so I figured it must have been something serious.

Things were quiet yesterday. No police and no strange man, so I went back to walking to the bus stop. But when the bus came, two little girls got off the bus. I’d never seen them on the bus stop before but my son knew who they were. One of them was in the kindergarten and the other in first grade. They were both adorable little girls.

As my son and I turned to go home, my son turned to me and asked, “Who’s going to walk them home?” Then he asked them if their mom or dad was coming to pick them up. The girls didn’t know where their parents were. It was a no-brainer. My son and I walked them home, especially after the strange man incident.

Apparently, my son knew where they lived from riding his bike in the neighborhood. It was past our house, but not too far. And they were so cute, their backpacks bigger than they were, that the walk was enjoyable. Their grandfather arrived at the house just as we did. My Good Samaritan duties done, I went home.

Well, this morning while my son and I were waiting for the bus, a car pulled up beside me. It was the father of the little girls. He repeatedly thanked me for walking the girls home. He was relieved that the girls got home safely. Apparently, he slept through his alarm (I think he works at night). He said, “It’s good to know I have considerate neighbors.” I told him that when you’re a mom, you’re everyone’s mom.

As I walked home, joy filled my heart. I was so happy to have put another parent’s mind to rest. I’ve certainly had my days of running late from picking up my son and been worried out of my mind. As I pondered that, the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

He said that Christian need to broaden their idea on making a difference in the world. He pointed out that there is a lot of emphasis on street evangelism and getting people to accept Christ, but our Christian walk is more than that. It’s making a difference in people lives however we can.

That dad experienced God’s unconditional love through my simple act of concern for his daughters. All my son and I did was care. That’s making a difference, too. I think there’s not enough of that in the world, a sad fact since Christians are the ones who should be leading the way.

It is so easy to get sucked up into this worldly selfish attitude where everything is all about us. Where we only help others as long as it doesn’t inconvenience us. But Jesus commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves. That means loving our neighbor’s kids like we love our own. It means supporting our neighbor’s marriages like we would our own. It means meeting someone else’s need and not getting an attitude about it.

I think the misconception is that we have to do something huge or grand to make a difference, like starting a non-profit or doing charity work. I think we go through great pains to change the world out there. And this is true, but sometimes, all you have to do is care.  Opportunities to change the world will find you.

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