Chapter 14: Do What’s Right in Front of You

“Just do it.”
—Trademarked slogan, Nike, 1988

For some readers, this might be a stunning thought: To make the world a better place you don’t have to reinvent yourself.

It’s likely you don’t have to check any of the boxes that are often recommended by experts and non-experts alike: Quit your job. Take a battery of fill-in-the-blank personality tests. Travel to some distant mountain in search of the meaning of life. Sit across from a life coach through twenty very expensive sessions during which you are grilled about your childhood, career choices, passions, frustrations, hopes, and dreams.

There exists a much simpler method for launching your personal quest for global betterment. Do what’s right in front of you.

Too many people spend their lives waiting for a sign. Others wait for a boss, coach, pastor, BFF, parent, book, blog, or magazine article to tell them what to do and how much energy to put into it. But if we just open our eyes, opportunities to make the world a better place are within our reach this very day.

The Bible puts it this way, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Sound too easy? Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. But it’s the right place to start.

The challenge is to see the world—especially what’s right in front of you—through God’s eyes. For sure, you want to develop big picture thinking and vision that sees into eternity. But that begins by seeing the projects and possibilities right at your fingertips.

Recognize that God has your best interest in mind. Proverbs 3:6 confirms, “Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.” When a pathway opens, just take it. Put one foot in front of the other. Walk with conviction and determination. At this moment in time, your next box to check might be wonderfully clear:


Are there dirty dishes in the sink? Does the school board need someone with a Christian worldview? Does your elderly neighbor’s porch need a coat of paint? Is your daughter, niece, or little sister preparing a tea party?

Your assignment is clear. Do the dishes. Run for school board. Paint the porch. Sit on a tiny chair and sip pretend tea.

And make sure you do it with all your might. Scrub that caserole dish until it gleams. Run your campaign with integrity and stand firm on issues of morality and religious freedom. Whistle while you paint. And extend your pinky properly as you sip your tea and perhaps even utilize your finest British accent as you chit-chat with the young hostess.

What task has God placed right in front of you? Sure, there may be someone else who could do it better or faster. You could ask the government for help. You could write long-winded editorials about what needs to be done. But there’s something noble, instructional, mind-expanding, and liberating about the act of doing it yourself.

What are you doing with your summer? Or your weekend? Or the next ten minutes? If and when you find something that needs doing, do it with all your heart, mind, and strength. Even before that task is complete, you will have made the world a better place.

KEYS TO GETTING STARTED

DO YOUR PART

If everyone did what was right in front of them, everything would get done.

LET OTHERS DO THEIR PART

When we take over someone else’s job, several possibly undesirable things happen. That person doesn’t get the experience or satisfaction of completing a task. They may also feel belittled or marginalized. The task might be completed incorrectly. And your own assignments remain incomplete.

YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALL

Often just getting started on the task at hand motivates someone else to come alongside and partner in your project. That allows each participant to check their own box, cooperating for the greater good.

TRUST THE END GAME

Envisioning the final product and laying the groundwork is never a waste. The Bible teaches, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28). At the same time, don’t let the planning prevent you from doing it. Trust that the final execution is under God’s control. “Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans” (Proverbs 16:3).

Your calling may eventually take you to the other side of the planet, but don’t book your flight quite yet. Within minutes of your home, there’s work to be done. Of course, it might be backbreaking, mind-boggling, or soul-expanding work that requires you to step outside your comfort zone. But worry not, you have everything you need.

Consider: A day volunteering in a food kitchen. An overnight visiting the urban homeless. An afternoon doing prison visitations. A Sunday morning volunteering in the children’s ministry at your home church. A week babysitting your neighbor’s toddler while she’s in the hospital. Dropping a sizable anonymous gift in the Salvation Army kettle. Providing sidewalk counseling outside a Planned Parenthood clinic. Delivering an Angel Tree gift to the children of an inmate. Or any other opportunity God puts on your heart. Any or all of the above can be world changing.

CHECKING THE BOX

Don’t compare your calling with others. There are too many unknowns. Your perception may be that someone is sacrificing way more than you. Or that someone else is a sluggard compared to your generosity and hard work. Don’t go there. Focus on what God has called you to do. That’s why “doing what’s right in front of you” is such a compelling and rewarding challenge. That task is yours. And yours alone.

TO PONDER OR SHARE…

□  1. What task that needs doing is literally right in front of you?

□  2. What task that needs doing have you been putting off for day, months, or years?

□  3. Is your next obvious task not a project, but a person?

□  4. Are you a planner or a doer? Do you procrastinate or act impulsively?

□  5. Do you want to reinvent yourself? Or just be a better version of you?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Newsletter

Sign up now to receive notes from Jay in your inbox. Just a few times per month.

Something short and sweet. A discovery. A warning. A reminder. A joke worth sharing.
Maybe an announcement about my schedule or a new product.
No spam. No pop ups. You can opt out anytime.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.