HOW TO MAKE A DIF­FER­ENCE

Activated - - NEWS - By Maria Fontaine

A sad part of my day is when I lis­ten to the news. Al­most ev­ery­thing is about peo­ple fac­ing ter­ri­ble sit­u­a­tions. Both Chris­tians and non-Chris­tians face very painful suf­fer­ing in one form or an­other in many parts of the world.

Much of the news is about some tragic cir­cum­stance some­where. It ranges from fi­nan­cial crises to ter­ror­ism and wars and con­flicts to drug-re­lated vi­o­lence to home­less­ness to per­se­cu­tion of Chris­tians to dev­as­ta­tion due to cli­mate change to left­over land mines to lack of wa­ter in var­i­ous places to hor­ri­ble re­pres­sive gov­ern­ments.

Think­ing about all that’s wrong can leave us feel­ing de­pressed if we stop there and we don’t take these sit­u­a­tions to God in prayer. But He also uses this in my per­sonal life as I look to Him for hope in a bro­ken world.

Be­ing re­minded of the ter­ri­ble straits that so many peo­ple are in al­ways helps to di­vert my at­ten­tion from what I con­sider my own prob­lems and dif­fi­cul­ties. Re­peat­edly be­ing made aware of the suf­fer­ing and trauma that so many peo­ple ex­pe­ri­ence on a daily ba­sis helps me re­mem­ber the rel­a­tive in­signif­i­cance of my own dif­fi­cul­ties and strug­gles and to be acutely aware of how blessed I am to be largely un­touched by so many ex­tremely sad and dif­fi­cult things.

I see how very rich in spirit and bless­ings I am, how abun­dantly sup­plied for. My feet walk in pleas­ant paths, my eyes be­hold peace­ful mead­ows, my ears hear beau­ti­ful mu­sic. I don’t hear the bombs of war. I don’t drink pol­luted wa­ter. I don’t live in a card­board shack. I don’t hear words of cru­elty from harsh taskmas­ters. I’m not im­pris­oned in a filthy cell.

I live in peace. Most peo­ple I en­counter smile and say kind words. I have the free­dom to openly talk about my faith. I can en­joy my loved ones. I have fun and friend­ship and fel­low­ship. I have a warm bed. I can go out with­out fear.

I’m truly rich in so many ways that are so easy to take for granted!

Lis­ten­ing to the news helps me to pray for those who are suf­fer­ing around the world. It also helps me to be much more pos­i­tive and thank­ful for the “light­ness” of my bur­dens, which are noth­ing com­pared with those of so many oth­ers.

We who are Chris­tians may still have to strug­gle and face deep sor­row and suf­fer­ing. Some­times we may not feel very wealthy. How­ever, in terms of spir­i­tual pro­vi­sion, free­dom, and an­swers to many of the ques­tions of life, we are richly blessed.

As a re­sult, we have the re­spon­si­bil­ity to share what we have with those the Lord leads us to, and to pray for those who are suf­fer­ing and have in­curred great loss.

When faced with the suf­fer­ing and des­per­ate needs of so many in the world to­day, you may not feel you have much to of­fer. But in spite of dif­fi­cul­ties, de­fi­cien­cies, in­fe­ri­or­i­ties, dis­abil­i­ties, af­flic­tions, or im­ped­i­ments, we all can do our part. Like the boy who gave his lunch to Je­sus be­cause he thought it would help oth­ers. And it did—in a far greater way

1 than he could have ever imag­ined! What Je­sus ac­com­plished through the boy’s of­fer­ing that day prob­a­bly af­fected his and oth­ers’ lives for­ever.

Don’t un­der­es­ti­mate the small things you can do: the smile that can cheer some­one’s heart, the lit­tle word that can be an en­cour­age­ment, the tract that can con­vey Je­sus’ love, the lit­tle of­fer­ing to God’s work, or the con­tri­bu­tion to the poor. He uses some of the small­est things and weak­est peo­ple as tools to have great im­pact on the lives of oth­ers.

2 God had great com­men­da­tion for the widow who, though she gave so lit­tle, com­par­a­tively gave more than the rich men be­cause she gave all she had. He said, “Ev­ery­one else gave what they didn’t need. But she is very poor and gave ev­ery­thing she had.”

3 He sees your heart and He knows what your sac­ri­fices cost you, and it is great in His eyes.

Maria Fontaine and her hus­band, Peter Am­s­ter­dam, are di­rec­tors of the Fam­ily In­ter­na­tional, a Chris­tian com­mu­nity of faith.

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