I found myself in the uber nerd cars of the train on my way home Friday. Two guys discussed the merits of Superman. I dislike Superman. He bores me. Too much power, no real risk. Not much of a story. In fact I yawned typing that.
But these guys love Superman. For them the greatness of the story lies in his inability to save everyone. He can’t be beaten but he fails. And that drives him nuts, that he can’t save everyone.
A couple thoughts raced though my mind as I listened to this.
First, if am bored by limitless power, if that seems unattractive to me does that have any implications on my relationship with God. Am I bored with him?
I find myself fascinated with God and frequently surprised by him. Every miracle I experience or hear about feels like an amazing story. Maybe that’s because I hear it form the perspective of the people in need, and there is definite risk on their side of the event. But it never seems boring.
The other thought was how often I use the idea that I can’t help everyone for a excuse to help no one. There are too many problems in the world. Far too many people are in trouble. It seems that limitless resources, time and manpower wouldn’t be enough to deal with them all. If I help one, I feel guilty that I didn’t help the others. Better to be paralyzed in shame than wallow in guilt.
I have no idea how many people I pass in a day that ask me for money. Typically I don’t have cash so I am unable to help. If I do give some to one person, the next I meet feels more needy. If I give to one, I immediately wonder what addiction I am supporting. If I don’t give, I wonder if they truly will starve tonight.
I know all the strategies of offering to give the food or train ticket or whatever it is that they say they need money for rather than the money. And I know the prevalence of addictions in homeless people. That’s not the point.
This isn’t about judging the worthiness of the recipient. It is about the inundation of needs.
Last week, I wrote about imagining a better world and the end of poverty and homelessness. Selecting a starting point seems confusing, hard, overwhelming.
Today’s verse of the day, delivered to my mailbox told me that it is a sin not do what you know is right. But there is so much that I can do but I can’t do it all. I feel like Superman, feeling like a failure for not doing it all. I sin constantly in not doing all the right I see needing to be done.
I struggle each day with choosing to do something. Something is better than nothing. Since I can’t do everything, something is better than everything too.
Jesus said that anytime we help anyone, we are doing it to him too. Anything. That’s each something we do. Thankfully he didn’t say we only help him when we do everything. Just anything.
Tomorrow, I will look for something. I will not be paralyzed everything. I challenge you to find something too.