Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:1-6)
It's easy to become overwhelmed when we look at the need in the world around us. Millions in need of food, water, shelter, medical care... the list, sadly, goes on and on. Charities great and small crop up around these specific needs, and all vie for your attention -- and money. You can't even buy a Happy Meal without being hit up for a donation, and for the most part, the cause is always worthwhile and important. And maybe that's not so bad, a dollar here or there. Perhaps you're even making real sacrifices and giving even when it's inconvenient. But you still wonder if you're doing enough. Whether it's making a difference at all.
Maybe you're like me and have serious doubts you'll ever be able to afford to make a real difference. But when I think that way, it's because I've forgotten one of a few very important facts about both need and the Call to help those in need.
First, money is a tool. A gift. It is given to us that we might sustain our families and bless others. But it isn't the only tool. In fact, you may not have any money at all... but you can still be a blessing to those in need. When Peter and John went to the temple in Acts 3, they didn't have any money on them. But they did have the empowerment of Christ to give this man in need something even better. And that's the second fact we need to remember: if God calls us to help, He gives us the means to do so. Maybe it's not what you think it ought to be, or what the world think it's looking for... but it's nevertheless exactly the right thing at the right time.
Maybe what you have to offer is comfort. A listening ear. The ability to care for others, to pray for others, to provide nourishment. You never know what the Spirit will lay on you, when you're willing to listen. Maybe, He'll even call you to heal. The point is to be available. The point is to stop worrying about what you can't do, and listen instead for what God wants to do through you.
The third fact we learn from this story is that you don't need to worry about changing the entire world. Focus instead on those who God puts right in front of you. Love those people. Care for them. Do that, and you really are changing the world.