By Melanie Lenow
FORT WORTH, Texas (BP) — It was the beginning of the summer when I first heard of the horrendous videos about Planned Parenthood. For months, I would see them posted and mourn for the children affected, for the moms who were so grievously deceived. I would cry for the atrocities and then my mind would go to the facility that is literally across the street from the hospital where my own children were born. It grieved me that on the days when I gave my children life, the lives of other babies were being brutally taken away.
Finally, I realized that my mourning, although justified, was doing nothing to save any children.
It was at that moment when I began praying that God would give me direction in how I could help my community be a city of life and not death. God places each believer in a particular location, not for them to hide their light in the security of their own home, but so they can greatly affect those around them. A city where there are Christians should be better off for it. However, the problems seem too big, so many of us stay silent, frozen by lack of direction.
At the end of this summer, God placed an opportunity before me to take a step to make a difference. And, because of His power and direction and the faithful obedience of many others, a large step was made to encourage others to work and help stand for life in my city.
Maybe you are wondering what you can do to affect your community for Christ. What can one person do to inspire change, stand for Christ, fight against evil right where you are?
1. Pray and seek the Lord’s direction for a specific opportunity. It would not be wise to simply join every group or volunteer every time there is a need. You will become burned out and your family will feel neglected and frustrated. However, if you pray specifically for the Lord to show you how you can become involved in the community where He has placed you, He is faithful to give you direction. As you are praying, speak to your spouse about getting involved in the community. It will more than likely be a team effort, so you need to make sure your spouse has the same desire to get involved.
2. Understand your talents and stage of life. While God has called you to impact your community for Him, He has also called you to be effective in the stage of life where He has you. It is not wise to neglect one calling for the other. In the same vein, think about the talents you have. Are you a gifted teacher, seamstress, painter, encourager, organizer? Think about using those talents to benefit the community. It will only lead to frustration if you jump into something that does not suite your stage or giftedness. God created you specifically with certain talents and passions. Using those, along with your availability, you can make a difference to God’s glory.
3. Be available. Opportunities to impact your community will more than likely not come at a convenient time. If you wait until you have free time or extra money or additional resources, the time will hardly come. But what you can do is use the resources you do have to make an impact. Yes, it might be inconvenient. Yes, you might have to sacrifice. Yes, you might have to reorganize and reprioritize. However, if you can change one life for God’s glory, it is worth it.
Finally, realize God works in the macro and the micro. For example, when we talk about the cause of fighting abortion there are many battles raging. There is a battle in the legislation of the laws of our country. In Congress, laws are made that affect people on a grand scale, nationwide. If we are involved in our community, then we must be involved in the election process that puts the people into place who make those laws. However, the opportunity does not end on the macro level. The battle to fight abortion happens on the local level. It also includes volunteering to encourage or counsel those who are hurt or scared in an unplanned pregnancy.
Sometimes we are fooled into believing that because we cannot help the masses that we are ineffective. But this is not so. God can work in ministering to the masses, but He can also lead you to be greatly effective in reaching one individual. God has created us to impact those around us with good works by using our talents and resources in whatever opportunities He lays before us.
Melanie Lenow is the mother of four children with Evan Lenow, an ethics professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This column first appeared at the Biblical Woman website, biblicalwoman.com, a blog of Southwestern Seminary.