Does it matter?


Each kindness enhances the quality of life. Each cruelty diminishes it.
– Desmond Tutu, Made for Goodness

I hesitate.
Because the more you know, the more you’re responsible for.

Do I want to know more?

I go to the PAR meeting (Prepare and Respond for disaster relief) anyway because I’m free that night and Jeff is already involved. And I do care about helping when disasters strike, but I can’t run a chainsaw and I’m not strong and . . . . (I can go on and on).

I feel inadequate.

Does it matter?

The measure by which we judge success or failure is not God’s yardstick.
In fact, success and failure are often more a testament to our own arrogance.

So at the meeting when Jennifer announces dates for a new training—for counseling and ministry in those emergencies—I lean in. I check my calendar. I imagine the possibilities.

Being heard into healing is a basic human need that we all share.
If we are lucky or blessed, we find people with the gift of presence.
These are people who can hear us into healing.

After Hurricane Katrina slammed the Gulf coast in 2005, I tore down sheetrock and cleaned out kitchens and picked up limbs.

But my favorite thing was holding hands with homeowners and crying with mamas and praying with families.

Yet Jennifer is talking about even more, about FEMA forms and case work and sticking with a family throughout recovery.

I feel inadequate for that, too.

Does it matter?

It doesn’t matter if we are successful in this moment, in our lifetime, or in our generation.
It matters only that we are faithful.
We can choose goodness no matter the circumstances….
When we stop being harried by the pursuit of success, our lives will reflect the goodness in us.

When I receive the email invitation for training, I sign up anyway. A friend signs up with me.

At the training we learn about more volunteer organizations and EMA and are invited to take FEMA training on-line.

I just don’t know. The needs in disasters will be too complex and the jobs too big and the people too many.

I hesitate again.

With God’s eyes we can see ourselves as we are, with all of our pride, every lack,
all our limitations,and each prejudice. And we can see ourselves
as we truly are—not sinners in need of saving but saints in need of seeing.
And all of us are good. No, not just good, but very good.
We are precious to God, the crown of creation, beautiful beyond compare. Very, very good.

So God works in the waiting. He . . .

  • sends me this song, “Give me faith to trust what You say
  • takes me to step 2 in compassion, “Look at Your Own World”
  • coordinates a random encounter for me with Alice a few days later at a church conference on Servant-Leadership, the same Alice who spoke at the training session about her group Keep Volunteering.

I hear God saying, “It matters.”

So I’m in.

Even though I am inadequate for it.

But I know Who always is adequate. I know Jesus is always enough.

And I know he never sends us without going with us.

Will my preparedness and willingness and help matter when the next disaster strikes?

It won’t matter to all, but it might matter to one.

And if not to someone, at least to me.

And if at least to me, then definitely to God.

Does that matter?

Yes, it matters.

When you see people wronged or in pain
In case all you can do is not enough,
In case you cannot fix the fault,
In case you cannot soothe the searing,
In case you cannot make it right.
What does it matter if you do not make it right?
What does it matter if your efforts move no mountains?
It matters not at all.
It only matters that you live the truth of you.
It only matters that you push back the veil to let your goodness shine through.
It only matters that you live as I have made you.
It only matters that you are made for me.
Made like me,
Made for goodness.
– Desmond Tutu

* * *

When have you felt inadequate to join a new ministry? How did you overcome it?made-for-goodness-desmond-tutu
I need to hear.

Quotes from Made for Compassion, by Desmond Tutu, a book I just finished and highly recommend.



17 thoughts on “Does it matter?

  1. Pingback: 2014 Reading Challenges

  2. Laura Rath

    Hi Lisa,
    I’ve been thinking (and wrote) of something similar…does this small thing matter? Yes, it matters! What seems so small to me isn’t small to God. And He’ll say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

  3. Beth

    “It matters only that we are faithful.” So true, Lisa. And a message that I think God is continually trying to speak into my heart. Thanks for being “heard into healing” for others and for being “speak into healing” for me today. 🙂 I just love your heart, my friend!

  4. bluecottonmemory

    I became certified in Don and Katie Fortune’s Discover Your God-Given Gifts – and as I taught it to various groups, and developed activities – I realized that each job needs all the gifts working. Even the nursery needs all the gifts working – If a child were to choke, you would need the Perceiver to recognize it, the Organizer to organize, the teacher to teach people the life-saving maneurver, the server to actually do it, the Exhorter to encourage the team, the giver to make sure everything was that was needed and to fill if a gift was absent – and the compassion person would hold the child, empathize and comfort. We are not called to be all the gifts – we are called to be who we were designed to be – there is a place for that gift on every team. The most successful teams have all the gifts working!

  5. Caleb Suko

    Lisa, I appreciate you sharing your story and your felt inadequacies. I have realized that some of the greatest ways God has used me is in areas I felt inadequate, but maybe that’s exactly why I had to trust God and he produced the results.

  6. Holly Barrett

    Oh, Lisa, how wonderful to hear that you lean in, even when you feel inadequate. It’s not our natural response is it? But it’s the response that I want to always give. Thanks for the encouragement!

  7. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I just did a post on giving your gifts. So many are discouraged because they see the work as too huge, or that there are too many doing it already. God has empowered you with a love for holding hands and crying and praying with families. Wow. Not everyone can do that.

    I have a little saying on my bookshelf: “Do whatever most kindles love in you.” by St. Teresa of Avila
    I’m glad you decided to do that.

  8. tcavey

    Wonderful post!
    I so often feel inadequate, but then I remember it’s not really about what I can do, but about what God can do through me when I allow Him.

    If I could do it on my own, I wouldn’t need God and He would be left out. Instead, I know I can’t do it and then all glory goes to Him.

    It’s amazing how our perception of “can” and “can’t” change when we see things through God’s eyes.
    He can do anything with a willing heart.

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