Long before Octonauts, Thomas the Tank, Go Jetters, Paw Patrol, and way before Bluey was an adorable, fun-loving, animated Blue Heeler pup, there have been children’s television programs screened to entertain and educate. I am showing my age when I say I grew up with The Magic Round-About, Bill and Ben, Adventure Island, (which made for some terrifying viewing for a small child at times), Play School, Here’s Humphrey and Fat Cat and Friends, to name but a few. Some of these shows have long had their day, whilst others have stood the test of time and are still airing today to a new generation of children. One such show reached its 50-year anniversary in November 2019: Sesame Street. I watched it as a child and my own children watched it also. It cleverly combines sketch comedy, animation and puppetry which in turn has taught many to recognise the letters of the alphabet, how to count, and some important foundational truths about life and relationships. One of the toe-tapping songs I used to love to sing along with was: “Who Are the People in Your Neighbourhood?” Take a trip down memory lane, if you have a moment, as a very young Bob checks in with a couple of local characters. https://youtu.be/W5cRukvx850 “They’re the people that you meet, when you’re walking down the street, they’re the people that you meet each day…”
Recently, I was reading from the book of Esther. In chapter 4 we read where Mordecai is pleading with Esther to rise up and be an advocate for her people, the Jews, to try to save them from certain annihilation, as Haman hatched an evil scheme to eradicate them. Right before those famous words “and who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” he says something else, that leapt off the page at me: “…if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance… will arise from another place…” I’ve read those words many times, but never before have they struck me as they did this time.
If I don’t do what God calls me to do, He will enlist someone else to do it instead! Either way, His purposes will be realised, but I will risk missing out on the blessings and potential for personal growth if I choose not to take my place and do my part. I don’t always throw my hand up when God-given opportunities present themselves. Am I alone in this? I suspect not. So, what holds us back? Fear? Past failed attempts? Criticism? A lack of perceived ability? Or perhaps it is apathy, ignorance or laziness. The thing is, that there are “people that we meet, when we’re walking down the street” – both those within our sphere of influence and complete strangers who may need something that perhaps only you and I can give them. It might be a friendly smile in that moment. It might be a heartfelt compliment or a little word of encouragement. It is not always the big or grand gestures that bring forth big blessings, positive change or renewed hope. “God doesn’t ask you to change what you’ve been given. He asks you to use what you’ve been given. Whether a lot or a little, what you have is less important than what you do with what you have.”
Is God asking you to step out of the boat, to put to work the gifts and abilities He has entrusted to you? Is opportunity knocking on your door, inviting you to be a part of a solution? Has God laid it on your heart to write a letter or make a phone call? Is He asking you to hone some skills or enrol in a course? Has He called you to pray for a particular person or cause, or perhaps more than that, does He want you to go and be His advocate, His hands and feet? “If it’s important to you, you will find a way. If it is not you will find an excuse.” 2 Corinthians 9:8 says “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”
The older I get, the more I realise that every decision I make, be it right or wrong, every challenge, every success and even every failed attempt is being used by God to shape and prepare me for the days ahead. God tells us in His Word that “He has prepared in advance things for us to do”, and so why wouldn’t He also prepare us in advance? (Ephesians 2:10) Even in spite of isolation and restrictions, we can all do something!
PRAYER: God help us to see the world through Your eyes. Give us compassion as we see the needs; courage to step out; confidence to trust You and a faith that is ready to love, to give and to go as You direct us. AMEN.
SONG: Do Something by Matthew West – https://youtu.be/b_RjndG0IX8