“Rise up, this matter is in your hands.” Ezra 10:4
We can get so caught up in trying to acquire material wealth, in an effort to keep up with Hollywood, that we miss out on opportunities to discover our God-given purpose in life.
Our idea of dreaming big is limited when all we can think of is winning the lottery or purchasing a big home. The reality is that we will never be fulfilled unless our vision surpasses ourselves.
About a month ago, CNN shared a story about a 13-year-old in Georgia who set her sights on impacting her world in spite of her daily battles. McClain Hermes is legally blind and her doctors say she will not be able to see at all in the next two to five years.
But Hermes has not let the prognosis stop her from living her life by serving others.
In 2009, after her father showed her an article about a shoe recycling program, she decided to start collecting shoes. Instead of recycling them, she donated the shoes to people that needed them. Through that, Shoes for the Souls was born.
For the past five years, Hermes and her father, Matt Hermes, have collected and delivered 10,000 shoes for a homeless shelter. Hermes said, “If you have a dream and you think it’s unrealistic, just keep on doing it because you’ll get there.”
The premise of Jesus’ ministry in the Bible was servitude. During one of his teaching moments, Jesus told his disciples, “And whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:44-45).
Paul adopted this attitude in his ministry. He was determined to be a servant for Christ by picking up where Jesus had left off. He traveled around the world preaching the Good News and healing the sick.
But Paul did not just go anywhere. He allowed the Holy Spirit to guide him to places where there was a strong need.
In one instance, Paul had a vision in the night. He saw a man in Macedonia urging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (Matthew 16:10). He knew the vision was from God, leading him to a place where the people lacked hope. He and his disciples set sail from where they were and went to Macedonia to pray for the people.
He realized praying for people and preaching the gospel to them was as important as feeding and clothing them. That is why Jesus, when being tempted by the devil after his 40-day fast, said, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’“ (Matthew 4:4).
It’s not always easy to get up and travel with a missions group to an impoverished, third-world country, but you do not have to serve on a grand scale to please God. You can serve in your neighborhood, community or church.
You can even serve in your own family. When my cousin’s husband was given a few days to live, everyone in my family rallied to help her and him in whatever way we could. Whether it was praying for them, preparing a meal, cleaning the house or just lending an ear, we served as often as possible.
What we did lifted her spirits, even after he passed. Our serving demonstrated our love for them, and it allowed us to forget and lose ourselves.
I doubt any of us were fantasizing about becoming rich or worrying about our bills. We were just grateful for life. And in seeing how short it really is, we knew we could not afford wasting another minute of being consumed by things that don’t matter.
There is always a need somewhere – as Hermes has realized at such a young age – and you don’t have to be a genius to figure out what and where it is. It’s all a matter of having the compassion and readiness to act when the opportunity presents itself.