A few months ago I was walking through Target, and I found the movie Slumdog Millionaire in the $5 dvd bin. The only thought that ran through my head was, “How could I not buy it?” Apparently I said my thoughts out loud, because my wife responded by saying she had never seen it. I immediately put the dvd in our cart and as soon as we got home we started watching it.
Considering that I have been to India, many of the scenes in the movie brought back memories of my travel and thoughts of the kids I met in the Bethania homes while over there. The best part of the movie, however, was not anything on the screen or the memories they brought back. It was the reaction of my wife, Clair, at her seeing with her own eyes some of the graphic realities faced by children in India. Abandonment, witnessing parental death, begging on the streets, living among the garbage, and the list goes on. Though I had told Clair stories of children in our homes who have experienced similar situations, seeing it with her own eyes through the movie clearly shocked her. The shock slowly faded away to sadness and a desire to help all the kids in those situations.
When we finished the movie, we talked about all the ways we wanted to help. They ranged from adopting a child to fundraising ideas for Bethania. For the following hour or two we were so inspired to help in any way that we could. All we spoke about were the children in India, the children in Africa, all the needs in Asia, South America, and even our own country. We were impassioned and inspired! But at one point, our conversation took a shift. I remember saying, “There’s just such a huge need everywhere. How are we supposed to make a significant difference without devoting our entire lives to it?” From that point our conversation slowly turned to different things in life – what we would eat for dinner tomorrow, her grandmother’s health, our weekend plans, the garden that we still talk about planting… Within such a short time we transitioned from a passionate discussion of helping all the impoverished, to our every day small talk.
It was not the first time something like this has happened, and maybe you can relate. You spend a few hours talking about all the ways you want to make a difference and all the change you want to create, just to wake up the next day sliding right back into your routine without really doing any of the things you wanted to do. You start finding yourself thinking, “Sure, those were great ideas, but I just don’t have the time right now.” Unfortunately, I started thinking that I would never have the time to devote myself completely to changing the world. I will never have the time to take every child off the streets of India.
However, recently I came to the realization that change does not happen all at once and you can make a dramatic change in this world without devoting your entire life to it. It begins with the first step. And the first step is saying “yes.” God places opportunities in our lives every day to change the world. The beggar on the streets in need of a meal, your coworker who is struggling with issues at home, the person who has a flat tire on the side of the road, the lonely in the nursing homes who would love to tell their stories — these are all opportunities to say “yes.” Do they directly solve the issues in India and around the world? Not necessarily, but when we answer yes to those small opportunities, our lives slowly shift until we are devoting ourselves completely to changing the world. Opportunities will most assuredly arise to change India and the rest of the world. If we have been saying “yes” to the other opportunities, then we will surely say yes to changing the world.
Have you said “yes” to a big or small opportunity God placed in your life? Share it in the comments!