Overwhelming odds can make cowards of us all. I remember the first time I felt overwhelmed regarding ministry in a vast arena. My life had been quiet and manageable. From my birthplace in a south Texas country town, I moved with my family to Houston, where we lived through my high school years. Our home was small and secure. After marriage, a hitch in the corps, and seminary, Cynthia and I became involved in ministries that were like our past...small, pleasant, and fulfilling. Our children were small, our lives were relaxed and rather simple, and our scope of God's work was quite comfortable.
The call to Fullerton, California, in 1971 changed all that. In fact, it was as the plane descended over Los Angeles when we were coming to candidate that I got this overwhelming feeling. I looked out the little window and watched as mile after mile of houses and freeways and buildings passed beneath us. I tried to imagine ministering to this sprawling metropolis of never-ending humanity. I thought, how can I possibly get my arms around this monstrous task? What can I do to reach the multiple millions in Southern California?
Suddenly, God gently reminded me, as He does to this day: I will never reach them all—that is humanly impossible. But I am responsible for those I come in contact with, and with God's help, I will make a difference in their lives.
I stopped paying attention to the enormity of the impossible and started pouring my time and energy into the possible—the people and the place where God had called me and my family. Call my vision limited if you will, but it has made all the difference in my peace of mind. I cannot do it all...I cannot get my arms around the vast boundaries of our region (no one can!), but I am able to touch those who come into the scope of my "radar screen." Peace of mind comes in knowing that in at least their lives, my touch can make a difference, even if it is only one here and another there.
One person cannot beat the odds. There will always be more to reach than time or energy or commitment can provide. But the truth is that each one of us can touch a few. How wrong we would be to stop helping anyone because we cannot help everyone.
Don't panic. Count on the Lord to honour and multiply even your smallest efforts. Last time I checked, He was still rewarding faithfulness.
Ignore the odds. Even though you cannot do everything, you can do something. You may be only one, but you can still make a difference. So make a difference.
Excerpted from Day by Day with Charles Swindoll, Copyright © 2000 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. (Thomas Nelson Publishers). All rights reserved worldwide. Used by permission.