The One Thing You Can Do

LIVING AS APPRENTICES

Today I listened to two journalists describe our struggles to think positively about the issues of the world.  Finally one of them said, “I just say to people, ‘What is the one thing you can do?  Go and do it. Just go and do it.'”

What great advice for each of our journeys! When we think about our environmental challenges, racial tension, catastrophic diseases, poverty, war and rumors of war, issues in our churchesdepression, our work places, and in our families, we can ask ourselves “What is the one thing I can do,” and then go do it.  When we are in a spiritual drought, we can ask ourselves,  “What is the one thing I can do,” and then go do it. When we are overwhelmed with challenges or indecision, or when others come to us for mentoring at times of confusion, we can say, “What is the one thing I (you) can do,” and then go do it.

As I reflected on this, some simple phrases from the Gospel accounts of the life of Jesus came into my mind. Very often as Jesus ministered, he told people  “the one thing they could do” to change a situation.

  • to Simon and Andrew: “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men.”
  • to Bartimaeus:  Go, your faith has healed you.”
  • to the man with leprosy: “Be clean.”
  • to potential disciples:  Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”
  • to the paralytic: “Get up, take your mat and go home.”
  • to the man with a withered hand: “Stretch out your hand.”
  • to the “rich  ruler: “Sell everything you have and give to the poor . .  . . then come follow me.”
  • to the disciples asking that the people be sent away to find food:  “You give them something to eat.”
  • to the expert in the law whose question prompted the parable of the Good Samaritan:  “Go and do likewise.”
  • to the disciples: “Sit while I go over there and pray.”
  • to Peter:  “Feed my sheep.”
  • to Paul: “Get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

Later in the morning, as I was again mulling over this idea, my husband (who no longer drives) asked me politely to take him to the store.  I had been looking forward to a quiet morning of writing and got pretty testy.  The simple “request and answer” situation became difficult.  Suddenly I thought, “What is the one thing I can do?”  The answer came, “Just shut up.”  So I did – and then I took him to the store.  Sometimes life is just that simple!

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3 Responses to The One Thing You Can Do

  1. Al & Barb Masselink says:

    Karen- I loved this. Thanks for reminding me that sometimes I just need to “shut up”!! Barb M.

  2. Thanks, Barb. And sometimes the the “one thing we can do” is to speak up. That can be just as difficult.

  3. Peggy Ankerman says:

    I love this, Karen. We try to make things so complicated sometimes- but often God leads us to take simple first steps. By the time we overcome the obstacle we suddenly realize that He led us there through those many simple steps!

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