Yes, you can have impact even with few talents and sparse resources

Tonight’s Powerball jackpot is slated to top $1.3 billion. Even if the cash payout is only $608.9 million, I suspect many people think their lives would change for the better if their six numbers were pulled in the drawing.

Whenever jackpots reach those astronomical amounts, people are often quick to proclaim what they would do with the money to help others, if they were fortunate enough to win. In reality, would they follow-through on their promise?

After all, if people aren’t generous today, would they really be generous with their time, talent and treasure if they were suddenly thrust into billionaire status? To be honest, I don’t now.

Generosity is often a heart issue and it starts by giving when you have little to give.

My favorite Canadian pastor, Tim Challies, tackled the subject in a recent blog post. He hypothesized about people who claim they want to be wealthy so they could make a difference in the world. They claim they want to be rich so they can better serve God’s cause.

Yet, Jesus commended a poor widow in Mark 12:41-44 when he called his disciples to him and said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”

Tim noted those with extraordinary wealth faded into the background while the impoverished widow who trusted God to work with of her lack of money and resources was immortalized in scripture.

He wrote that people fall into several traps when it comes to being intentional in using their natural gifts, learned skills, unique life experiences and financial resources to benefit others. They are:

  • If only I had more money…
  • If only I had this particular gift…
  • If only I was more intelligent and had a better education…
  • If only I had a larger platform to reach people…

“The fact is, the God who used spit and dust to cure a man of his blindness can most certainly make use of you,” Tim wrote. “And I assure you that if you had great talents, you would simply compare yourself to those who have more still.”

He is absolutely correct in noting that people who cannot be satisfied with little will certainly not be satisfied with much. Ask a wealthy person how much more he needs to be truly satisfied, and the answer is often “just a little bit more.”

Don’t believe me? What grandiose plans did you imagine you would do at age 20 when you achieved the wealth, resources, wisdom and status you have today? Does your present reality align with your youthful dream?

If so, congratulations! You should be commended for your faithfulness. If not, what happened to throw you off course from your grand plan?

“Contentment comes when we accept what God has given us and commit it to his cause, no matter how great or how small it seems to our eyes. For in God’s eyes, it is all very dear, all very precious, all very meaningful,” Tim wrote.

It’s easy to imagine the impact we could have on the lives of others when we can throw a bunch of money at a problem. Yet, we all know money truly doesn’t buy happiness. Just look at Hollywood celebrities.

Imagine the impact you could have by influencing just one younger person in a way that alters the trajectory of his or her life. You could wind up influencing hundreds or millions of others.

While we want to give millions to missions, think about the life-changing impact that can take place by contributing $100 toward a teenager’s first mission trip.

We want to give money to build libraries. But, what could happen if we simply volunteered to help youngsters fall in love with reading, or we helped a student research a topic that becomes an eventual career?

“God is the giver of every gift and the gifts he gives to his people are only ever good,” Tim wrote. “Our task is to receive them from his hand, whether one talent or ten, and unleash them all for the good of others and the glory of his name.”

They key to making an impact is to start where you are with what you have. Stay close to God, trust him and follow his prompting. Then you’ll be amazed at just how impactful your life can be. Plus, you don’t have to wait. Dream big, but start small.