There’s a story about a man in the south that planned to reach the children’s hospitals in his area. The man had a heart for the hurting, and knew from experience that when a child suffers the whole family, and extended family suffer.
He began to ponder, ‘How can I show the families I care?’
One day while walking through the local mall he noticed the unnoticeable, some kids hugging their new stuffed animals. He then began to wonder what it would look like if every person from his organization brought in a new stuffed animal to give to the sick kids in the hospital? What he envisioned was a good. So, he acted.
The next week during a staff meeting he held up a stuffed animal and invited the people to help him bring a little light into a child’s life. He encouraged them to purchase new stuffed animals and to bring them to the office. The people responded to his vision.
As the stuffed animals arrived, the animals were hung by fishing line from the ceiling, they were placed on every available shelf space, placed in the hallways…everywhere. On the given date, the staff took the animals to the hospitals and gave them to the kids.
The result: a fun, upbeat, serving opportunity occurred which connected an inspired vision to action. As a result they were able to care, love and show practical concern for the kids and families they served.
A few years ago I was able to attend LifeServe Conference in Loveland, CO. During the conference Doug Pollock and I drove up into the mountains, stopped on top over 12,000 feet, on a balmy 65 degree day. The view from the top was breath taking. We then headed down the mountain, our mission… find Elk.
When we reached the bottom of the mountain we turned right onto a dirt road and noticed several parked cars so we pulled over. People were gathered watching a small herd of elk. The big boy was guarding the cows and the wanna be bucks were in the next field.
We walked over to a small group of rocks and noticed two men taking photos through long telephoto lenses..
Doug asked if he could have a look through the camera. After a few minutes of casual banter Doug mentioned that he had a elk head mounted on his wall in his log home in Ohio.
The ladies who were there exclaimed, ‘You didn’t shoot it did you!?’
He replied, ‘Nope. I’m an author and speaker. I received the trophy as part of my honorarium.’
One guy asked, “What kind of books do you write?” Doug replied, “I write books that help Christians share their faith with others in a non-belligerent manner.
Have you ever known an obnoxious person who burns their bridges while attempting to share their faith?”
Another man instantly stated pointing to a friend, “He does. His friend used to be a Catholic and for some reason went to a fundamentalist church and “met Jesus” he came home locked his wife in their bedroom and told her she was going to hell if she didn’t change her faith. He’s like that all the time now. No one wants to be around him.”
An interesting discussion proceeded. We discussed the Catholic faith; how the guy should have acted toward his wife and what true faith looks like in the life of a believer. Phrases we used described a believer as a person who loves, a person who shows kindness, a person who exhibits care and a person who is friendly and open hearted.
Then a man in the group pipped up. “I also am an author. I write books for kids. I used to be a contractor and I have built several children’s hospitals all over the USA. Somehow, I now have a heart for sick kids.
My books are unique, in the midst of wild-life photos, there are places where kids can color and each book has a space where the child’s parents or guardians can write the kids name in the story as they read the book. I often pop in and read my book to the children. I recently read the book to a little girl and she wanted me to read the book again and again.
The goal of the book is to help children make it through their tough hospital stay. I recently wrote another book titled Going Home.”
Then he stated, “I really don’t know why I write the books. I’ve invested $10k of my own money.”
Doug then spoke to the man and kindly stated, “The reason you are writing your books is because the compassion of Jesus is in your heart and your are compelled to make a difference in a child’s life.”
The statement was like a God’s love affirming gift that entered into the man’s heart. In response to the statement, he began to openly weep.
Everyone in the little group knew something special had just happened. A caring man’s heart had been revealed. Later, when we walked to his car, he gave us a book and thanked us for the conversation.
I think this is how people who care for others make a difference in their world. I also believe that this process can be duplicated through personal practice. Each step is simple, and each step can be nurtured.
See a need and meet it.
Both men in the stories above saw a need and were inspired to meet the need. They pondered how to meet the need. They then acted on what they thought they should do to insure the need was met.
Step into the process:
Notice. Begin to live life in an aware / alert state. Most people live their lives in an unaware state of mind, and never notice the needs of others. The art of noticing is a clue to help you make a difference in your world.
Receive inspiration. Inspiration is the spark that breathes life into an idea. It is an inspired process, or a God breathed idea that can come suddenly. Spending time in God’s presence is also a way to receive inspiration. I believe most of our best ideas are created as we step into the God’s presence as we worship, pray and wait.
the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, esp. to do something creative.
• the quality of having been so stimulated.
• a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea.
• the divine influence.
Ponder / Wonder. Wondering and pondering is a process of problem solving. I’m inspired. Is this a God breathed idea? What would it look like if? Dare to dream, wonder and ponder. How can I best meet this need? How can I develop this idea? Is this doable? What are the steps I need to make? Who do I need to talk to? Where and how can this idea be out worked? Will this make a difference to my world?
Act. Action is always needed to really make a difference. Until action takes place, the idea remains merely that, an idea. Those who take a risk, step out of their comfort zone and act are usually those who make a difference in their world.
Part of acting is casting your compelling vision to others. Casting your vision will help you recruit team players, to raise funds. You may need to set up web based support, information, and how others might participate.
Seeing a need and meeting it is often the first step toward changing your world. I like and practice stopping for the one. Helping someone, by listening, encouraging, giving and praying often inspires me to continue to care for people.
I’d like to invite you into the adventure. You never know you just might change your world.