Monday Moment, June 17th
I was walking in my favorite neighborhood one morning when I spotted a nail in the road. I picked it up so that it wouldn’t puncture a tire the next time someone drove by. But as I kept walking, I found many more nails strewn all over the road! That morning I plucked about 30 nails from the street, and over the next week I would find a few more here and there.
Did someone intentionally scatter these nails, hoping to create a nuisance? Or did a box of nails fall off a truck at some time? Either way, I figured that if I spent time cleaning up the nails, I would lose about 15 minutes, but I could save up to 30 people from having a flat tire, at least 90 hours of delays and repairs for these 30 people, and about $3000 in total costs for 30 new tires or repairs. I smiled to consider the ripple effect of one small act- all of these potential blessings for 15 minutes of my time. (My apologies to those in tire sales though!)
For many of the problems or troubles in our world, we have not been the instigators. Nor will we be the solvers. We are not the ones who have scattered the nails, intentionally or accidentally. We are not the ones who can prevent culprits from further mischief or future accidents from happening. The problems began without us and will not end with us. We long to make the world a better place, but these realities can make our efforts seem insignificant and even futile at times.
What can we do? We can be the helpers along the way. When we come upon a problem or discover trouble, we can do what we can to lessen its impact. We might not be able to prevent messes, but we can help with clean up. We might not be able to stop the hurt but we can comfort others and relieve their pain. We might not be able to obstruct every injustice but we can stand with the oppressed and share our strength. We might not put an end to poverty but we can provide food for one family.
We are called to simply do what we can but also to do all we can. Our small actions may make a greater difference than we can imagine. We may never know the ripple effects of our small acts of kindness, but those blessed in the ripples will. We might not stop all the problems of the world, but we can certainly be the helpers along the way.