It’s always tough when you’re giving a message and you see a person in the crowd who is absolutely “losing” it. Recently, during our third service at our Nashville campus, I noticed a young lady who was emotional on and off through the entire message.
Everything inside of me wanted to just stop the message, walk out to her and give her a big hug. I didn’t have a clue who she was and I would never embarrass someone like that. However, after the message, I sat down in the auditorium to listen to the closing song and I could still see her sitting just a few seats away. She was breaking my heart.
But I remember thinking, What should I do? I see dozens and dozens of people getting emotional every Sunday. There’s not enough time in the day to work my way around to each of them. This is exactly why we have other pastors on staff. This is why we have community groups. I can’t chase down every single hurting person in our church.
I faced a similar situation earlier this week when I was driving home from work. It was freezing outside. I passed by a guy walking along the road headed into the opposite direction from me. I immediately felt what I believe now was a prompt from God to turn around and pick the guy up. However, in that split second, I came up with all kinds of excuses like, Maybe he’s dangerous and I’m already running late, but the excuse that trumped them all for me was:
I can’t stop and pick up every single person walking along the side of the road or I will never get home. This just isn’t practical.
I remember years ago hearing a fantastic leadership talk from Andy Stanley where he said, “Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” That’s stuck with me because I may not be able to help everyone, but I can help one. I can give to one like I wish I could do for everyone.
I’m quite confident that you probably grew up hearing from a parent or a teacher or maybe a coach, “If I let you do it, I have to let everyone do it.”
“Don’t give one classmate a piece of gum unless you can give all of them a piece.”
“I can’t let you go to the bathroom right now because then I would have to let everyone go to the bathroom.”
I get it. I understand why they instituted this principle. It’s just that as I read more and more about the life of Jesus, it’s obvious he didn’t allow this principle to keep him from “doing” for people. Jesus didn’t disciple everybody. Jesus didn’t heal everybody. Jesus didn’t raise everyone from the dead.
So, I sat there almost paralyzed with what to do for this girl. I decided to grab an offering envelope and write her a quick note of encouragement and let her know I’d be praying for her. As I walked out of the auditorium, I dropped the note on her coat that was sitting in the seat next to her.
You know, I can’t do that for everyone, but it shouldn’t keep me from doing it for her.
So how about you?
You can’t adopt every single orphan in the world, but maybe God’s prompting you to adopt one.
You can’t fill every single volunteer vacancy at your church, but I bet you can fill one.
You can’t treat all your friends to a lunch out this week, but I bet you could treat one.
Do for one what you wish you could do for all.