…you’re walking along the beach and you have one bucket with you. It’s not your job to collect all of the sand but a part of you feels responsible for doing so. You can only collect one grain of sand at a time if you want to do it well and sometimes it could take a year or more to get a single grain into your bucket. No matter how hard you try, and no matter how full your bucket gets, there will still be an entire beach of sand that you want to collect but will never be able touch.

Sometimes that’s how it can feel to be on mission. This isn’t special about Haiti, anyone who has committed their life to serve the Lord in any capacity can feel this tension. There are infinite needs and you know you are called to help in any way that you can. You want to serve people well in a way that makes a difference for the better.  But you also know that you will never be able to do it all.

I Was Not Created to Save the World

I’ve been told that I have a “save the world complex”. It’s been so hard for me to wrap my mind around the reality that no matter how hard I try, I will not save the world. Not even close. I am always extremely aware of the needs around me. Not only in Haiti but in my hometown in Ohio as well as other corners of the world. My natural tendency is to want to pray for everyone, love everyone, and serve everywhere.  But my God has something different planned for me.

God never asked me to save the world. He only asked me to do my best. He asked me to go and to be the physical body while allowing Him to work. God called me to go (He calls all of us to go) but he never asked any of us to be miserable or to work ourselves to death over things that He wouldn’t ask of us. I often find myself wondering if the things that I struggle with while pursuing ministry are because God asked me to stress over them or if I only tell myself that he wants me to.

When I shift the pressure of the entire world from my shoulders and remember what I’m called to, it changes everything. Suddenly I don’t see the entire beach and I become aware of the grains of sand in my bucket. I can see the things that I’ve already done, the lives that I’ve made a difference in. I can see the victories that God has put in my path. Looking at my bucket this way I can see the things that matter. Suddenly, I don’t feel responsible for the world (because I can see where God is in control) and the genuine people and relationships that I have in my life become much more significant.

Your Way Is Better Than My Way

It’s not about putting sand in my bucket. The things that matter most in the bucket are there because God put them there, not me. When I see my bucket now, I can look at it and be proud of the places that God took me instead of the places I tried to take myself. When I look in my bucket, and I only see one grain, I can’t help but smile because I know that grain is supposed to be there and now I can cherish the quality of the relationship represented by that grain as opposed to capturing the whole beach. Is the life behind one grain of sand worth your obedience?