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What Can One Person Do?

by David DeFord

The great outpouring of concern and action in behalf of the victims of the great tsunami in Asia flooded our hearts with warmth. These victims lost their families, their homes, and some even lost their whole villages. But the world came through. Of course, the devastating impact of this terrible natural disaster will be felt for years. But the assistance from governments, organizations, and caring individuals was unprecedented.

Children set up lemonade stands, sold homemade cookies, and who found other creative ways to raise money to send to the victims. Websites and e-zines provided links to relief agencies. Film and music artists came together and produced a telethon—they raised millions. Churches, women’s groups, service organizations, ball teams, and numerous other groups sent needed food, blankets, supplies, and millions of dollars to the tsunami victims.

Much more needs to be done, but the response has encouraged the hearts of all. We saw a similar outpouring of aid in the wake of the World Trade Center disaster in 2001 until partisan politics diluted the unity. What a shame!

Do you think the $18.00 raised by an eight-year-old made any difference to a faraway Indonesian village? Isn’t the $50.00 you generously donated just a drop in the ocean compared to the billions needed? Why bother?

When we donate funds, time, and energy toward the relief or lifting others we join the thousands of caring people who refuse expect their governments to satisfy every need of the downtrodden. We recognize our personal responsibilities.

Such important work provides the generous giver with feelings of satisfaction and happiness that cannot be obtained in any other way. Albert Schweitzer said,

“One thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve.”

Volunteers and donors add meaning and purpose to their lives. Their example becomes infectious, leading others to perform similar charitable actions.

I also feel that in our service to our fellow beings we attract abundance to ourselves. Somehow we can attract success better by giving much of it away than by hoarding our money and time like the miserly Silas Marner. Don’t ask me for scientific studies on that, but I have seen the anecdotal evidence in dozens of cases.

Some of our service and contributions come from responses to huge natural disasters like the 2005 tsunami. But more commonly we see a need and thrust our energy into filling it. Poverty, disease, racial injustice, education, religious organizations, dysfunctional families, abuse, slaughter of the unborn, the elderly, health issues, drunk driving, animal cruelty, the environment, emotional and mental disorders, and many other causes need our help.

Surely one of these societal issues raises your passion. Search deep into your heart and your principles. As you do so you will find a cause that needs your impassioned involvement.

You need not sell your house, quit your job and travel from disaster to disaster. Just do what you can. As you do, you will find greater satisfaction than you feel sitting at home watching reality programs every night.

Each of us live in our own season of life. Young parents with small children cannot afford to serve or donate to the same degree as their parents. But the generous children who raised and donated small sums for the tsunami victims have shown us everyone can do something.

Find the right cause and do your part. As you satisfy the needs of others you will satisfy your own.

Related Quotes

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that every has. Margaret Mead

One man with courage is a majority. Andrew Jackson

The impersonal hand of government can never replace the helping hand of a neighbor. Hubert Humphrey

The only true happiness comes from squandering ourselves for a purpose. William Cowper

He profits most who serves best. Arthur F. Sheldon

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