For nearly 10 years the focus of my life was working with urban poor people. In one of those experiences essentially 10 of us were in the midst of overwhelming human need. The number of meaningful things that needed to be done was endless. I couldn’t begin to count how many times people would come up and say: “Pastor, someone needs to do something about . . .” With every identified problem, there was a recommended program, service or ministry that needed to be started.
Somewhere along the way, out of desperation, I began to ask the same people who identified the need to become a part of the solution. The response was almost uniform: “Oh, no, not me. I just felt it was important to point out the need.” This is where sideliners are particularly lethal. They have so much time to watch life go by that they have a great view of all the problems, which inspires them especially when they assume their role in life is to point out what’s wrong. They conclude that their contribution is at best to suggest solutions and then sit back and evaluate how well we are doing. If you’re not careful, sideliners can move you by need, control you with guilt, and leave you dead with exhaustion. - Erwin McManus (Seizing Your Devine Moment)
When I read this I sat back and breathed a huge sigh of relief. Wow. . . I don’t have to be everything for every body. And I don’t have to feel guilty about it. Now, how about you? Are you trying to ‘save the world’ by your heroic actions but really just getting burnt out or are you a sideliner that has all the answers but doesn’t lend a hand to be part of the solution?
We are all put on this planet for a unique and vital purpose. What’s yours? What can you do to help a hurting neighbor or co-worker? How can you come alongside an organization that is already doing that and lend a hand?
Later in the same book the author says “It is a powerful thing when you give yourself away to a higher purpose”. I agree 100%.
Before you start to think, “well, of course that guy is a pastor” or “Dr. J, you’re a chiropractor, you guys serve people every day, that’s your job. How can I serve a higher purpose? I’m a single mom or I work in a mill or I’m just not cut out for that.” Think again; you were put on this planet for a unique and vital purpose. What’s yours?
One of the reasons I do what I do is for you to regain your health so you can go out and serve others. Whether it’s your brother or sister, mother or father, neighbour or a stranger on the street. It is a powerful thing when you give yourself away to a higher purpose.
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