Monday, May 16, 2011

If I Could Change the World

"I could change the world,
I would be the sunlight in your universe
You would think my love was really something good
Baby, if I could change the world" -
Eric Clapton

(photo source:

The evening news parades a host of video footage of the devastation in Alabama after tornadoes ravaged through the area a few weeks ago and the devastation of the Tsunami that struck Japan. We regularly see images of the homeless on the streets of the cities of our nation and the abandoned children around the world who are hungry and without a family to care for them. After a while it all becomes overwhelming and depressing. We cannot change the world and eliminate all the suffering that we continue to see.

We all grew up with teachers telling us things like, "did you bring enough for everyone?", and leaders telling us things like, "If I did that for you, then I would have to do it for everyone." And, we are left with the idea that we have to treat everyone exactly the same. If we invest in one person or group that it is not fair unless we do it for everyone. Leaders are left to feel inadequate because they cannot go the extra mile for one person needing help, because they cannot extend the same level of assistance to everyone they contact. Is it really more important to feel like we are being fair with everyone or it it more important to be working to change something for someone?

How does one change the world? How can we make a difference in the suffering, hurting, loneliness, and devastation?

We can make a difference - one life at a time.

Despite what we have had drilled into our skulls over the years of "it's not fair" and "If I gave this to you, I would have to do it for everyone." We can make a difference one life at a time, one person at a time, one neighborhood at a time.

Invest in one person that you have regular contact with, do for that one what you wish you could do for everyone. Invest in one organization that is making a difference in someone's world. Look around. Find something that is actively making a positive difference and take a part.

What can that look like for you? Volunteering at a soup kitchen? Volunteering at a Nursing Home? Adopting a child? Skipping this year's vacation and going on a short term mission trip? Donating your used car to a single mother instead of trading it in?

"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers." - Galatians 6:9-10 (New International Version)

For more on this subject, I suggest viewing this message:
One, No Everyone


FLHX_Dave said...

"Go big or don't bother"...How often have you heard that one? This is exactly what needs to be done. You nailed it brother! Just do what you can and help one person at a time. That is what will make a difference. I like what you are saying here. Timely...sometimes I don't feel like I'm doing enough, but the things I have done have always proven to me that simple acts of kindness change lives. Believe it.

Canajun said...

Great post. Our regrets are rarely for the big things we didn't do, but the small things - not visiting a sick friend one last time before they passed away, not helping that young person when we could, not being there for a family member when they needed us. Those are the things that matter - one life at a time.

Ben said...

One of my favorite messages, and well, you know how much of an impact it has had on Kim and I ;-)

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Great word Allen! If we would all just realize it only takes us changing one life, who then changes another, etc to make a difference. For some reason we have this idea of what FLHX_Dave wrote: "go big or stay at home." That may work in a card game but in life...not so much. Will listen to the message when I have time. Thanks.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

About ten years ago, I wanted to make myself feel good by donating $50 or $100 to a food bank at Christmas. So I called the local church. They said, "Great. We need you to give $1,000 today."

That was my lesson in humility. Leslie and I came up with the cash, but my share of $500 was a lot more feel good than I bargained for. But that episode taught me a lesson that I did not easily forget... Leslie and I continued to support that program as long as it was possible.

Today, there are six houses in our cul de sac. Five of the breadwinners in these homes are without jobs (including this one). There does come a time when it is necessary to take a step back and say, "I must rebuild myself in order to rebuild someone else." Sometimes, it does become a challenge.

I have become thankful for a roof over my head and running water. I was having lunch from the dollar menu at MacDonald's with a friend the other day, who has been out of work since last summer. Some poor guy came along who looked at our hamburgers like they were a fond memory. We bought him lunch too. What the hell? When you reach a point where a dollar makes a difference in somone's life, what's one buck more or less.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad

Unknown said...


I seldom go downtown but we have a lot of street people here. These are able-bodied, mostly young people who come from across the country during the winter months to enjoy our moderate climate, without funds. They beg for money, they squeegie car windows and expect you to pay them. I would also not be surprised if these are the ones responsible for our high crime rates. I often help out the truly needy with a meal.

Riding the Wet Coast

Mike said...

A great thought provoking post Allen... and all the comments are revealing.

Allen Madding said...

FLHX_Dave - sometimes the littlest things have the biggest effect. Keep on keeping on my friend.

Canajun - I am right there with you, one life at a time.

Ben - Dude, you guys encourage me to raise the bar. Thanks!

Bill - sometimes we just are supposed to plant a seed, or sometime just water. Whatever the task I am called to do, however small or not, I am glad to do. I know He will finish the good work.

Jack - sometimes that is the toughest part, actually helping and not enabling. I firmly believe in buying a meal.

Bob - its funny sometimes when you offer to buy them lunch and they disappear, huh?

Mike - Thanks. All the comments give me reason to think.

Unknown said...

It is truly incredible how things work out sometimes...

I have been struggling with some questions in my personal life that this post helped me to come to grips with. This message was aimed and landed truly.

Thank you


Allen Madding said...

Buddha - glad it was on target for you. Keep on keeping on, my friend.


irondad said...

I think a real value to this post is bringing it down to simple steps. Often people look at too large a picture. Then they do nothing because they don't know where to start.

A take away message in your post is to just reach out and do SOMETHING. Small pebbles make large ripples as the effect spreads.

Take care, Sir.