Sometimes I feel paralyzed by all the suffering in the world. There’s simply no way I could make a dent in all the hunger, sickness, poverty, depression, oppression, loneliness, and death. When you look at the brokenness in its entirety, all you see is desolation.
But I have come to understand how that point of view is actually a tricky way to get myself off the hook, and a very selfish mindset. Someone challenged me to “do for one” what I could not do for many. With that mindset, there’s always something I can do.

In the office where I work, I couldn’t help but overhear the struggles of a single mom coworker. Christmas was approaching. She had some funds for gifts coming from grandparents and other sources, but was finding paycheck-to-paycheck living hard with all the extra expenses of the season. My heart broke for her.

That day, I had $40 in my wallet. I penned a quick note, stuffed it all in an envelope, and gave it to her with a “Merry Christmas.” I did it all very quickly, before I could talk myself out of it. I didn’t want to embarrass her, it seemed a small amount, maybe someone else needed it more … Excuses, excuses.

When she opened the envelope she teared up. Someone had met her in her struggle, even if just for a moment. I was happy I had stretched myself a little, but mostly, I was impressed at the impact any of us can have on just one person.

  • One person you invite for coffee
  • One child you commit to sponsor
  • One lonely acquaintance you invite over to celebrate
  • One toy you give to a Christmas gift charity
  • One card you mail to a faraway friend
  • One tray of cookies you bake for lonely neighbors
  • One family you babysit for
  • One elderly couple you do some repairs for
  • One sick friend you visit

You have a lot of power and resources to lend for “just one.” Imagine the impact we could have if we each took care of just one person within our reach.