Bad news. It’s easy enough to get it, if even one or two of your five senses are working. It practically seeps into our lives—and our hearts, if we’re not careful. It’s understandable, then, to look at everything wrong with the world and feel that the situation is hopeless. The world tells us there’s no cavalry on its way, no pinch-hitter in the bottom of the ninth. Against all that darkness, what can you or I do?


            “You are the light of the world,” Jesus said in Matthew 5:14. “A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”

            As Christians, we have His light inside of us, which is stronger than any darkness in the world. Yet even if we let this truth guide our actions, it’s tempting to think we have to wait for the big opportunities—the mission trip, or the major donation to the church. Adopting the orphan. Teaching overseas.

            These are all critically important, and you should be doing them, as the Spirit leads you. We are called to step out of the boat and be the hands and feet of Christ, and sometimes this means a major step of faith. But do not neglect the day-to-day opportunities God puts in your path to show His love. Take the initiative to seek them out, and as you shine God’s light, you will feel His love filling your heart to overflowing, and you will want to show it even more. It’s a precious cycle.

            My friend Scotty Sanders, in his excellent book ONE Focus Living, describes the importance of showing the love of Jesus in the places where we live, work, and go to school. One great (yet simple) outreach he describes is letting your restaurant server know you’re about to pray over your meal, and asking if he or she has any needs you can pray about. Every time I have done this, it’s clearly touched the person’s heart—their job is to serve the customer’s needs, but how often does someone ask about their needs?

            Another easy one, same spot: Tip well. As Christians, we should be the most generous tippers in the world, and the quickest to forgive when major things go wrong (like, heaven forbid, our soup is not hot enough, or took five minutes longer than expected. And I’m pointing the finger at myself here, too, folks).

            Don’t eat out very often? Try taking ten minutes at home to make a difference to someone on the other side of the world. Go to Learn a foreign language, brush up your vocabulary, or practice geography, all while rice is donated to feed the hungry with every right answer. Full bellies encourage open ears. You can sign up as part of a Christian group.

            Or Spend $25 on a microfinance loan to literally change someone’s life, and when the loan is repaid, pass it on to someone else. Join the team of Kiva Christians.

            Don’t have Internet access? Not a problem. Call Compassion International at 1-800-336-7676 and ask how you can be a part of showing the love of Christ to children around the world. Find a child to sponsor. Write letters often. Send Christmas cards. Put the child’s drawings on your fridge. Cherish the letters you get in return. Be humbled and weep at the thought of a little child on his or her knees, in the dirt, under a tin roof in a third world country, praying that your needs will be met.

            Take the time to meet the eyes of the greeter at Wal-Mart. Stop to ask how her day is. Chat with the gas station attendant. Thank him for his help. Be compassionate to your coworkers, displaying integrity in every task. Be kind. Be joyful—act like someone who has been given everlasting life and eternity in paradise. Smile! Look for opportunities to talk about what God is doing in your life.

            At the end of the day, we all have our incomplete To-Do Lists, our unmet standards of performance. But I believe that God has only two unchanging action items that are the same for every day of our lives:

            1: Learn to be more like Christ.

            2. Show God’s love to His other children.

            I believe that if we accomplish these two things, our day has been well spent. And if we do not, whatever else we have done, we have missed out on the purpose of the time we have been given.

            “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as if God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Cor. 5:20)

            It’s a dark world, ambassadors. Hold your light high.