by Pastor Tim Burt
Has this ever happened to you? A friend tells you he’s lost his job due to down-sizing. Now they’re in trouble because they can’t pay their mortgage and are in fear of losing their house. What can you do about it? You don’t have thousands of dollars to give them. The problem is too big and you think, there is nothing I can do to help them except sympathize. A different friend just got in a car accident. Her car was totaled and she’s without car until she can get back on her feet and hammer it out with the insurance company. What can you do about that? Someone tells you they’ve been diagnosed with Leukemia and you feel horrible but what can you do? Someone comes to work distraught because their furnace went out and they need a new one. You don’t have that kind of money to help them. So what can you do? Nothing?
We are often surrounded with people’s over-sized problem. They seem to big for us to begin to address in any meaningful way, and so we end up doing nothing.
The majority of people have an all or nothing approach. What we have to come to grips with is that God is mighty. Our willingness to do something, coupled with our faith in God to help with what we cannot do, often leads to a touch of God’s love that has great and even miraculous impact.
I love this verse from the Message Translation in II Corinthians 8:10-11 MSG. It has actually changed my thinking in a profound way. It led to and resulting in me changing my approach to helping others who are experiencing troubled times. It’s not an all or nothing approach. Read this and you’ll see. It says, “… do you do what you can, not what you can’t.” I love this thought! “Do what you can, not what you can’t.” If we are willing to do what we can, and ask God to do what we can’t, the plan of God and miracles happen.
There’s a Bible story of a person that could have said, I am sorry, but there is NOTHING I can do. Instead, this person thought, What can I do? and offered what they could do. This person’s response and God’s help, paved the answer to a troubling situation! In the story of Jesus’ birth, we read, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7 (NKJV) From those words: “because there was no room for them in the inn,” has come the sub-story of an innkeeper whose place was fully occupied from people that were traveling to their own home town because of a census being taken. Mary and Joseph desperately needed a place to stay because she was about to give birth. The innkeeper was sorry but he had no place for them to stay. As we picture this, we imagine Joseph pleading with the innkeeper. The innkeeper suddenly moves over from the all-or-nothing, to the here-is-what-I-can-do, and offers them the stable where Jesus is then born. The innkeeper didn’t get stuck on what he couldn’t do, which was make a room available to them in the inn. Instead he found what he could do, which was to give them usage of the stable. That decision—that small gesture was a part of a great and mighty event that furthered the plan of God and helped Joseph and Mary so very much. It even made the pages of the Bible and is a story known by countless people through the ages!
We all know the things we can’t do. They seem obvious! The question is, What is it that we can do? Can you share a promise from God’s Word to a discouraged person and pray with them? Can you bless someone with a $10 gift coffee card and a note to help brighten their day? Can you make a meal for someone or bring a plate of cookies? Can you patiently be a listening ear to someone who just needs to air out their thoughts? Can you then take their hand and pray with them? What can you do? As the verse says, “…do what you can, not what you can’t.” If you begin to use this approach—thinking about what you can do and praying for God to do His part, it can result in powerful help and change for the person in need. You learn to quit thinking about what you can’t do and instead adjust your thoughts to think about what you can do!
If this has spoken to your heart in some way today, then take the ride. I challenge you! Next time you sense someone needing help, pause and lift your heart to Heaven and pray, Lord, Please show me what I can do to help. Even if it’s encouragement and sincere prayer, don’t think of that as insignificant. To the contrary, sincere heart-felt intercession for a friend and letting them know you are praying for them is powerful! When you learn to make the life-change of thinking about what you can do instead of what you can’t, you and those in need around you will be mightily blessed! And frankly, you’ll be a changed person!
II Corinthians 8:10-11 MSG. “… Once the commitment is clear, you do what you can, not what you can’t.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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