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By Dr. Rod Casey, Theological Education Initiative
It’s that time of the year! Our mailboxes are bulging with solicitations for donations to worthwhile nonprofits. Our emails are begging us to say “yes” to invitations to volunteer for needy causes. A friend wants you to serve on the board of her favorite charity. There’s a single dad at work whose adopted daughter is a sophomore in high school. She needs a female role model.
Think about it, and do so while you reach for your purse to grab some loose change to stop the bell from ringing before you shop for groceries for Christmas dinner. It’s Christmas for goodness sake. You don’t want to “bah humbug” your way through Christmas season. But, for goodness sake, that’s a lot of asks. We can’t say yes to all of them. Maybe it’s easier to ignore all of them.
Often, what are meant as invitations begin to feel more like expectations or even demands. Too often this time of year leads to compassion fatigue. We think of how many problems are never solved. What we’ve already done doesn’t seem to have helped. There’s more to do this year than ever before. “I don’t do enough and what I do makes so little difference, why do anything at all,” our nagging emotions tell us.
Instead of allowing our overwhelming feelings to paralyze us from doing anything, here’s a proverb to consider this season instead.
Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.
Don’t do what needs to be done for every cause, every family, or every volunteer opportunity that comes along. But do something meaningful for one cause or one family. And tell your false guilt feelings to take a hike. Count yourself significant by contributing to a need you can meet.
But how do we decide what one of everyone is ours to take on?
Consider your competencies. Take stock of what you’re passionate about. Ask a friend for an unbiased perspective on where you might make a difference. Pray for wisdom. Be open to hearing an answer. Be willing to sacrifice.
This is the season we remember the only One who could, and did, everything for everyone. Our Savior’s birth, life, death, resurrection, and his promise of better days ahead, keep us from being overwhelmed by the needs around us that only the Savior can ultimately meet. But we are invited to participate with him in doing something even though we can’t do everything.
We can do for one what we wish we could do for everyone.
Merry Christmas and God bless!
Learn more about TEI here: Theological Education initiative