Do what you can

The outpouring of support and the rescue efforts for those affected by Hurricane Harvey have been amazing. Having been a Coast Guard family, I’m partial to seeing the stats of how many thousands of people were rescued by Coasties, many of whom had lost their homes too but continued to serve others. I watch J.J. Watt’s Twitter feed, simply to be astonished by how his initial goal of $250,000 to help those affected by the hurricane is now over $28 million! 

With so much devastation, it would be easy to feel overwhelmed. Especially because not everyone has a helicopter or the fame of an NFL player at his or her disposal. That’s why the “smaller” efforts are just as impressive. Individuals used their own watercrafts—from kayaks to boats—to rescue one person (or pet) at a time. People in J.J. Watt’s home state donated water, food, and diapers to his relief efforts, and children opened up lemonade stands to contribute to his fund. 

All of them simply did what they could. That’s a lesson for all of us—all of the time. With so many tragedies and needs and troubles, it’s easy to feel small and inadequate. How can you possibly help? 

I keep going back to a story in the Bible for encouragement. There was a young boy who wanted to listen to Jesus—along with 10,000 to 15,000 other people. When everyone got hungry, the disciples discovered he was the only one whose mom packed a snack (such a typical mom thing to do). In normal circumstances, this boy’s five small loaves of bread and two fish wouldn’t even make a dent in the boy’s own hunger pains, much less help anyone else. Still, Jesus took the snack, prayed to his Father who blesses abundantly, and everyone ate until they were content. Afterward, there were 12 baskets of food left over.

The God who did that is the same God who hears our prayers and blesses our small offerings today. So each day we offer what we have and trust in the one who will bless it abundantly. 

Call a friend.
Hug a teenager.
Write a letter.
Donate to reputable charities.
Put down your phone.
Serve at a shelter.
Pay for the person behind you.
Visit the elderly.
Invite a friend to church.
Tell someone why you are grateful for them.
Praise someone’s child.

“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20,21).

Linda Buxa is a writer and retreat speaker. Her kids are now old enough that they are in charge of packing their own snacks.