Sometimes we get caught up in anticipation of how God may use us in the tomorrows of our lives. Maybe you are young, and you are dreaming of what you will be when you grow up and the beautiful things you will do when you are finally old enough to do them. Maybe you are in college or graduate school, and you are looking forward to when you have graduated. You will finally be able to use all the education and experience you have been adding to yourself, changing the world with new ideas and new passion. You might be a young parent, and you spend time planning for what you will finally be able to accomplish when your kids are finally in school or have grown up and are on their own. Whatever situation you find yourself in today, the decisions you make matter for today and tomorrow. You can and should have an impact in your community and around the world today, right now!
Planning for tomorrow is not a bad thing. It is helpful and often informs today’s decisions, but if it keeps you from impacting your current world, you need to rethink your plan. God wants to use you today, right now, and exactly where you are. Youth is no excuse. Education is no excuse. Your current situation in life is no excuse. You are light. Let it shine!
All of us can pray no matter where we find ourselves and no matter what age we are. Prayer is our most effective tool in the spiritual world around us. It brings God’s resources to bear. In addition, prayer connects us more closely with God and his plan for us at any given moment. It makes us more like Jesus, and that is what having an impact is all about.
Helping others in your community has no age requirement or special skill requirement. It just needs a willing heart. I lead worship for elementary kids on Sunday, and just this weekend, I saw two 10-year-olds make a difference in their community. One, Naomi, was willing to join me as I led worship. That willingness to be involved made a huge difference in the connection we were able to have with the whole group. The other, Isaac, saw a younger girl being helped into the class and realized she was new. He went right up to her and asked her to join him in the activity he was enjoying. He made sure she was able to participate, and the smile on her face and her involvement in the class activities that followed was shaped by the time he spent with her.
The power of encouragement is often forgotten. So many of the people around us each day are hurting in some way. A smile and a kind word can shed light in a dark place. You can make a difference in the lives of the people around you. Ask someone how they are doing and then really listen to their answer. Take just one step in relating to them and see the difference it makes.
Generosity speaks more loudly than words. Be generous with your time and your energy, not just your money. We make sacrifices for others because of what Jesus Christ did for us. In this way, we share in his love for us and show it to others. Giving to others allows you to partner with them more profoundly. All that is required is a willing spirit.
As you apply these filters to the way you look each day, opportunities to impact the people around you will emerge. The only thing to do now is to act. Getting involved in these ways doesn’t cost money and will not derail you from what you see God has for you in the future. On the contrary, it will help prepare you to have even more significant influence as you move forward from one day to the next. Look at today and every day as an opportunity to be involved in God’s kingdom work. It is our responsibility, honor, and joy!