In a few days I’m going to celebrate my 40th birthday! Wahoo! This feels great to me – like I’m finally an adult. Does anybody else feel this way? Like they are all grown up but still feel like a kid inside? Just me? Anyway – as I’ve been thinking about life I’ve been thinking more and more about what sort of impact I want to make on the world around me. I really want to help make the world a better place and help people find hope.
But sometimes I get overwhelmed and think, “What difference can I make? I’m just one person.” And let’s be honest, 2018 was a rough year that has left many of us feeling a bit beat up. In moments like this I’m reminded of what Desmond Tutu said, “Hope is being able to see the light despite all the darkness.”
Yes! Even in the darkest moments, if we squint – we can see the light. There’s always light. Always. History is defined by those who refused to give up, refused to be overtaken by darkness, and committed themselves to doing all the good they could.
As I look down the road of 2019 I’m going to refuse to give up. I’m going to refuse to become bitter or jaded or even divided from other humans. We are all in this together. That’s why I want 2019 to be my year of doing good.
Sure, we should dedicate ourselves to doing good all the time, but for me, there feels like something really important about rededicating myself to doing good right now. As I start a new phase of my life, I want my life to be about helping others – about doing good.
I want to take up the challenge that John Wesley told his followers to, “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, to all the people you can, as long as you can…”
I may not be able to solve the political crisis in America or end homelessness or end human trafficking or wave a magic wand and increase our compassion towards immigrants. But I can do what I can do. I can do good in my life where I am right now.
I can show up for justice.
I can give money.
I can serve.
I can vote.
I can be engaged and be present.
I can be compassionate and merciful.
I can make meals and invite others to join me.
I can pray. And welcome. And give words of kindness and hope.
I can do my part.
My part may just be a drip in a gigantic ocean but if we put our drips together – we may make a stream. And if our stream joins another stream we can form a river. And rivers can carve canyons. Maybe this is what the prophet Amos meant when he said, “Let justice roll down like a river…”
When you do good and I do good and our churches do good we can make a river together – and change the landscape of our future.
This year let’s not allow the darkness to overcome us. Let’s refuse to give into despair or division. Let’s be people of love – even for those we don’t agree with. Let’s be compassionate and generous and welcoming and tender.
Will you join me in making 2019 the year of doing good? This is the way I want to live my 40th year and every year after – living in the light of hope. Together, our drips can make a difference and we can build brighter futures together. Let’s do as much good as we possible can!