One Life at a Time

One Life at a Time
Have you ever seen the movie the Constant Gardener?

I watched it in my college dorm room with a group of girls, so I haven’t really seen it either. I do remember that it’s about a couple going to Africa to help children, and every time the lady is told that she can’t help everyone, she just says, “but this is one I can.” Every person she said this to kind of had the exact same reaction. “How can helping just that one kid mean anything?”

I have always felt like if I am going to anything for others, it has to be on some sort of a grand scale. Sponsor an entire Christmas dinner for the homeless. Donate clothes for every single person at a shelter. Go and walk every single dog at the pet shelter. Adopt every single orphan child in India. At some point I have seriously tried to do each one of these things…all of them have failed.

Well, I am actually in India right now, so the adoption thing could still work out.

I am spending two months working with Calcutta Mercy Ministries in the great city of Kolkata. Kolkata is literally like the birthplace of missions and compassion. Mother Theresa’s ministry is about a mile away from where I am staying. The ministry I am working with feeds somewhere around 13,000 kids who are literally starving every single day. Little children just roam the streets begging for anything to eat or drink. There are crowds of homeless people on every street corner.

People get drinking water from pumps and water pools in the middle of the street, which have who knows what flowing through them. Dogs, cows, goats and the occasional bull just roam up and down the main streets, doing whatever wandering animals do. If you go to weather.com, we are in a permanent state of “haze”.

There is so much stuff that needs to be done, that helping just one person won’t realistically do much of anything.

That’s always been the weird thing about Jesus to me. There was a genuine passion about that one person. That crippled guy who was screaming out while Jesus was passing by. That one random woman who just wanted to touch His clothes. That “wee little man” who climbed up in a tree.

Jesus stopped everything just to help one person.

He talked again and again about helping whoever we can, no matter who they were. He walked around with a lot of the same challenges we face today. There was violence, beggars, sick people, infidelity, murder all talked about throughout the Bible, and there still seemed to be a pause whenever anyone would just call out. It might be because I’m a random white dude that’s about five inches taller than everyone else, but I have had more people ask me for stuff in the past month than in my entire life.

Somehow the begging just stopped affecting me. I read Matthew 25:40 not to long after I got to India.

”Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,
you did it to me.”

Just because I can’t end hunger throughout India in two months doesn’t mean that the starving kid in front of my hostel doesn’t matter. That wheelchair bound man down the street may not be able to ever do anything for me, but God looks at him the same way he looks at me. That elderly, beggar lady that knocks on our taxi window every time we drive down Park Street may scare me, but she is beautiful in His eyes. I have realized that some people may seem insignificant to me, but they are precious to our Father.

I want to move past the desire to change the world all at once, and simply strive to love those that can’t give me anything back in the same way He did. I pray that the people that matter most to God, once again, matter to me.

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    • About the Author
    • avatar
    • BJ Thomas
    • BJ is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia and is currently spending two months serving the people of India. You can follow BJ on Twitter at @Beejaythomas.

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