Taking Initiative


After speaking at a high school chapel service, a young girl came up to me and asked how she could know what her calling was. I told her to find her holy discontentment and start there. She still seemed a little confused, so I asked her to think about things that break her heart when she sees them. Then I gave her some advice I heard Andy Stanley give: Do for one what you wish you could do for many. Sometimes we look at an entire problem, feel inadequate and give up. You may not be able to eradicate hunger in the world by yourself, but you can feed one person. Start there. Do for one what you wish you could do for many. When you prove you can be faithful helping one, God will empower you to help many. It all starts with one.

I can’t help but think of King David wanting to show kindness to Saul’s family. When he found out Jonathan had a son that was still alive, he had him brought in. Historically, when a new family took over the throne, they wiped out the bloodline of the previous ruling family. Jonathan’s son thought that was what was going to happen to him when the king summoned him. However, David placed himself in this young man’s shoes and decided to show him kindness. If the roles had been switched, he would have appreciated kindness to his grandson. He then did for one what he wanted to do for any in Saul’s line; he gave him a seat at the king’s table and restored his family’s property.

I know you probably grew up reciting the Golden Rule and were taught to treat others the way you want to be treated, but what if you used it as a measuring stick for fulfilling your calling? I love the perspective that The Message gives it in Matthew 7:12. It says, “Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them.” When you have found your holy discontentment, do for one what you wish people would do for you if you were in that situation. Quit making the excuse that the problem is too great, you don’t have the resources to make a difference or that you’re not ready. Find one person in that situation and do what you can. It doesn’t have to be a lot, but you have to start. Put yourself in their shoes, think of what you would like for someone to do for you, take the initiative and do it.

Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

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2 responses to “Taking Initiative

  1. “Do for one what you wish you could do for many.” I’d never heard this Andy Stanley quote before, but I like it. Also, the advice to respond to your “holy discontent” is sound. To paraphrase what Abraham Lincoln wrote to a young aspiring attorney: “Always remember your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.” Thank you, Chris. You got me thinking this morning about encouraging my own sons on the right life path. Blessings.

    • Incredible! Andy said it at a Catalyst Conference I was at. It was part of his Deep and Wide thinking. I loved it and it has stayed with me.
      Praying you have the wisdom to guide your son’s on God’s path for them. I believe God puts a holy discontentment in each of us. For Nehemiah it was to build a wall. For David it was to honor God’s name no matter who was defaming Him. For some it’s the orphan crisis. Each one of us has it. We just need to find it and start doing what God is asking.

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