When I was younger, I often dreamed that God would “just bless me” with immense wealth, such as would enable me ‘make a huge positive difference’ in my society. It didn’t require detailed investigation and intelligence to recognize that there were enormous human needs all around me, but I often felt helpless and constrained thinking that I didn’t have enough to make an impact.
That feeling of being drowned and overwhelmed with the myriad of visible challenges of friends and neighbors often meant I did significantly less than I was actually capable of doing at that time (regrets!).
In terms of the sheer quantity of help needed by people in my sphere of influence today, there hasn’t been much of an improvement (in fact, it has increased exponentially!).
Many more people need clothes, food, portable water, shoes, school fees, laptops, internet access, admission, parental care, health facilities, cars, employment, rehabilitation, encouragement, financial support, accommodation, recommendations……and that list is virtually endless.
I do believe that the most pressing need of men is spiritual reform, but how can we communicate genuine concern for the souls of men, if we ignore their most pressing needs? (looking at it from their own perspective). Maslow’s Pyramid of Needs indicates the desire to live and persist as the most fundamental, and that is in fact, practically authentic.
MLK said above all, I see ministry as a dual process. On the one hand, I must attempt to change the soul of the individual so that their societies may be changed. On the other, I must attempt to change the society so that the individual soul would have a change. Therefore, I must be concerned about unemployment, slums and economic security. (from The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jnr)
“Make a difference’ or ‘make an impact’ are buzz words today that readily challenge us to act and do something positive for another (or the society), but I wonder how much of an impact these words have had on us. I would rather recommend a return to the traditional “help that person beside you” phrase. It’s simple and straightforward. There’s no grandiose grammatical construct to hide behind, in such simple but yet powerful phrase.
Today, I’m glad I’ve learned from past mistakes, and readily recognize that I’m ALWAYS in a position to help someone, and pull another one up. There are enormous needs around us, and they present themselves on a daily (perhaps hourly) basis, but many of us still frequently pass on these opportunities. It’s quite easy for us to forget that the privileges we have is by no means a product of our abilities, but by the supreme placement and GRACE of GOD, who expects us to extend the same without reservation to all starting with those around us.
I no longer waste precious moments thinking of hitting a jackpot of a billion dollars In order to help someone. The little I’ve got is sufficient to help that person right beside me. If 1% of Nigerian families could adopt just one child from the orphanage, I doubt we would have any need for orphanages (they would have become museums in a matter of seconds!)
A few tips on how to help someone:
Make a habit of giving pedestrians a free ride in your car (it’s not always dangerous to do that!).
Pay schools fees of kids around you, that you know ought to be in school, but can’t afford it.
Send your house-maids to school.
Give way to traffic on the left.
Stop at Zebra Crossings
Don’t throw garbage out of your window.
Never use abusive or curse words on anybody, but encourage and bless instead.
Buy a couple of shirts for someone.
Buy good books and text books for people (Very important!)
Make a habit of giving your good but old clothes to people you know have just a few clothes.
Make a habit of keeping only stuff you really need, and give away everything else!!!
Visit the orphanage and homes of the physically challenged at least twice a year.
Sponsor Primary, Secondary and Tertiary education for one or more persons.
Buy laptops and computers for students and other people around you.
Earmark a fixed percentage of your income as donations to charities and other foundations.
Support ministries that you believe are genuine.
Pay your tithe.
and many more ways of making a difference (Sorry! i meant "helping someone"!)
You see – it doesn’t take meticulous planning or the brain of a rocket scientist to make simple interventions!