ONE

Lately I find myself in a constant struggle for balance. In all sorts of different areas. I’ll be sharing lots about this in weeks to come.


I live in Seattle, Washington where homelessness is (unfortunately) very prevalent. So one of the things I am forever trying to balance is who and when to help. In one quick trip to the grocery store, that is just 1.5 blocks away, I can encounter at least three people asking for food or money or a whole list of other things. And that’s just on the way there. This is a common occurrence each and every time I leave my house.


Growing up in church and being raised around Scripture and to have “Christian character,” this is a constant source of stress and crisis for my conscious. Constantly I encounter people in need, always I long to help, in reality I cannot help every single time. But each and every time I am faced with the same train of thought...

31-33 “When he finally arrives, blazing in beauty and all his angels with him, the Son of Man will take his place on his glorious throne. Then all the nations will be arranged before him and he will sort the people out, much as a shepherd sorts out sheep and goats, putting sheep to his right and goats to his left.

34-36 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,

I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,

I was homeless and you gave me a room,

I was shivering and you gave me clothes,

I was sick and you stopped to visit,

I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

41-43 “Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because—

I was hungry and you gave me no meal,

I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,

I was homeless and you gave me no bed,

I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,

Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

44 “Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

45 “He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

46 “Then those ‘goats’ will be herded to their eternal doom, but the ‘sheep’ to their eternal reward.”

4-7 “Suppose one of you had a hundred sheep and lost one. Wouldn’t you leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the lost one until you found it? When found, you can be sure you would put it across your shoulders, rejoicing, and when you got home call in your friends and neighbors, saying, ‘Celebrate with me! I’ve found my lost sheep!’ Count on it—there’s more joy in heaven over one sinner’s rescued life than over ninety-nine good people in no need of rescue.
The list goes on and on and around and around in my head and in my heart. Every. Single. Time.


So, what do we do with this? How on earth do we reconcile what at times can seem to be the extremes of Scripture?


I’m going to be real with you.


I’m not sure.


I’m literally walking through this with you. Figuring it out with each and every encounter. Probably walking away more often than I should--doing nothing at all--simply because I don’t know what to say or do.


Here’s what I do know. It’s not going to seem like much, but it’s sort of everything at the same time.


I cannot help every single time. None of us can. I also cannot allow myself to do nothing and stand paralyzed at how much needs to be done. Of course not.
But, I also know that we have the Holy Spirit. (Something I far too often forget.) And He is the one who can direct in the who and when to help. If, of course, we will pay attention.



Simple enough, right?


Ha.


That last little bit there, that’s the key, and my biggest issue in the whole balancing act.


I’m just not paying attention. To the right things anyways.
I’m too busy attempting to solve the world’s problems on my own forgetting all the while that I can and should be calling on the Creator of it all to intervene--to show me how I can best help. If I would focus my attention on Him, trusting that still small voice that speaks up in certain moments and when I encounter certain people and situations, then He could trust that I would follow and help where and when and how He sees fit.


I think back to the book of Acts. Just after the followers of Jesus had received the Holy Spirit. I imagine they were thinking much the same thing. They had just spent years with Jesus and He had just left them with the monumental task of telling EVERYONE about Him. What!?


And so do you know what they did? They waited for the Holy Spirit. And then, they tackled it one person at a time. One illness, one demon, one soul at a time. We can’t actually believe that the miracles shared throughout Scripture imply that those were the only people in need. In fact Scripture tells us very often that Jesus encountered thousands of sick and hurting people at a time. And still we hear the stories about all of the ONEs. Even Jesus seemed to be led by the Holy Spirit in these cases. He absolutely was.


So what’s my takeaway here?


If even JESUS was led and motivated by the Holy Spirit with who and when and where to help, then who do I think I am to intervene  for every person, and every need? I am no Jesus I can tell ya that. So I’m quickly led back to that second passage. Reminded again and again that Jesus will always go after the ONE. And if my call is to be like Jesus above all else, then it becomes rather simple.


My call is not to solve the world’s problems or even the problems of every single person I pass on the street. My call is to be like Jesus allowing Holy Spirit to lead me to the ONES He sees best fit for me to help.


So here’s how I’m currently applying this to my life. Practically and logically….


  1. I’m trying to focus my attention to the right space before I leave home. Saying a quick, simple prayer that I would be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s leading and highlighting the ONES in my path.
  2. I’m focusing on my passions. I can’t fix all the problems or even be passionate about all of them, but I can find the ones that break my heart the most and put my passion and energy and resources into those. For me, that’s certainly the problem of human trafficking. I have found local and international organizations to fight with and I’m starting there.
  3. I’m remembering that this is a team effort. I am not enough to fix it all. But, if I’m obedient to reach the ones in my path and you the ones in yours, then together we’re going to make a dent.


Like I said, this is a forever balancing act. One I’m still very much in the middle of. I’m so open to thoughts and insights from amazing women like you! I know we all want to change the world for Jesus, how are we going to do it together?



1 comment

  1. Yea, this is good stuff. Also something I'm going through too. I'm trying to be more intentional about asking the Holy Spirit to guide me in those ways. To give me eyes to see and wisdom in those situations. Looking forward to hearing more about how you are working through all of this yourself.

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