‘Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone’

“Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.” I am grateful to Andy Stanley, the pastor of North Point Church in Georgia, for these words of wisdom.

Needs are endless. Sometimes that can lead to feelings of guilt. Generous people can get sucked into feeling they have never done enough. The answer to guilt is to “do for one what you wish you could do for everyone.”

As I look at the ministry of Jesus, I notice that he didn’t equally distribute his time. There were many times when he left the crowds who were seeking his healing power so that he could focus his attention on the 12 disciples or sometimes just the inner circle of Peter, James, and John. Even as one who was “fully God,” Jesus didn’t have enough time and energy to meet all the needs presented to him. Instead, he focused his teaching on just a few people.

It is tempting to think that the way to have the most impact and influence is to connect with as many people as possible. But in fact the opposite is true. The people who leave the greatest legacy do so by building strong relationships with a limited number of people.

What would happen if all of us, who seek to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, would intentionally do for one what we wish we could do for everyone? We might not all be able to be preachers or Bible study leaders or missionaries, but all of us have life experiences to share with others. Every follower of Jesus can make a difference in someone’s life.

When my children were teenagers, some of the most significant influences in their lives were young adults who served as role models and were able to speak to their lives in a way that a parent never could. Those of us who have lived through the days of parenting young children, can offer encouragement and support to frazzled parents.

Scripture teaches us that God “comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4.) When we are willing to tell our story and walk alongside someone else, we often find that God redeems our pain and allows us to be a blessing to others.

The best person to come alongside someone going through marital difficulties is someone who has been there. Who can better provide guidance to a person struggling with addiction, than someone who is in recovery?

None of us can “be all things to all people.” When we try to do that it often leads to guilt, burnout or both. But all of us can “do for one what we wish we could do for everyone.” That’s how we can follow in His footsteps.

Durrwachter, is part of the pastoral staff at First United Methodist Church.