The Good You Can Do
*This blog is a guest post by Brooklyn Lindsey. It was originally featured on The Community, a Nazarene Publishing House website. John Wesley was an evangelist and a philanthropist. The strange warming he described feeling in his heart at Aldersgate was the love of Jesus Christ coming to life in him. This change of heart led to a life committed to promoting the welfare of others.
Wesley was a generous person who lived on less in order to be able to give more. He understood that knowing the love of God leads to sharing the love of God in the world. Wesley’s example is a good one to follow, and I find it especially encouraging on days that don’t turn out how I expected. I have to find a way to do good even when things don’t go as planned. Life is one big plan in progress, and it is often unpredictable. One thing that doesn’t have to be unpredictable is the way we respond to what life throws at us.
When we say yes to Jesus, we walk into a way that asks us to love God with everything in our essence and to love our neighbor like we love ourselves.
As I travel the world and meet more and more of my neighbors, I grow more fond of this request from God to love my neighbor as myself. I find that every time I set my self-focus aside, I end up being able to make an impact on someone’s life, and that person in turn ends up making an impact on my life.
You may feel like the world is too big and you don’t get to travel much. But geographical limitations don’t mean you have no neighbor to love.
There is always someone to see, a story to learn, a place to show compassion.
The question we have to ask is: Today, where will I be able to do good in Jesus’s name?
What means do you have to do good? What is it in your life that you could offer the world? No matter how small it may seem to you, consider how you can offer it. What ways come to your mind as you think about reflecting the love of God when your feet hit the ground in the morning? When your hands hit the keyboard? When you step off the train or out of your car to go wherever you go?
If you feel like you’ve exhausted the places you tend to visit, think about changing your routine. Find a new place to eat lunch. Get to know the people making your food and taking care of you. Reflect the love of God as you care about those around you every day. Maybe it isn’t even a physical place but a group online or a book you’ll write or a laugh you’ll provide. Be open to God using you in the world. You are a missionary of the love of God, and you have a full-time ministry, even if you don’t have an official title or ordination certificate.
You have this moment, right now, to do something for others in the world. NOW. Plan for the ways you will show love in the future. Be grateful for the ways you’ve been able to serve in the past. But remember that now is where your life is, and now is when the love of God is seen and felt in the world. You have an opportunity to change the world in a way that no one else can by letting the image and love of God be seen in you.
Meditate today on this quote whose origin doesn’t seem to be known. It is often attributed to John Wesley, but a quick Google search will show that scholars are divided, at best, on the accuracy of that attribution. But that doesn't negate the meaning of the words:
Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, In all the places you can, To all the people you can, As long as ever you can.