by Phil Miller–
“You can only do what you can only do, but at least you can do that!”
This simple saying came my way from a young man when I, too, was young. We were neighbors. I was his pastor. He was an elder and taught a young adult Sunday class. If you’d known him, you would have described him as a spark plug, an energizer bunny, or dynamo. I asked him how he had become that way, and he supposed it had to do with the early death of his father, which compelled him to assume a lot of responsibility sooner than most boys his age. As it happened, like his father, though from a different diagnosis, he also died at a young age. I knew he had at least done what he could do during his allotted years.
The proverb he left with me has helped me get unstuck whenever I feel overwhelmed. I can only do what I can only do, but at least I can do that. I can take those first steps. I can write that first rough draft. I can clean up that first square foot. Usually, once I’m unstuck, I find that I can do far more than I thought I could do. It’s like the benediction I shared from Ephesians last Sunday: “Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly more than all we can ask or imagine . . .”
The disciples saw a poor widow drop her last two half-pennies into the offering funnel outside the temple. Jesus pointed out her astonishing trust in the care God would provide. Her faith was in a Power able to accomplish more than she could imagine. Her gift was a celebration of grace.
As you prayerfully listen for what God wants you to offer during the coming year, and as you consider the great needs of our church and community and world, I hope you’ll find assurance in my friend’s words: “You can only do what you can only do, but at least you can do that.” No one needs to be left out of the grace of trusting God and sharing the support of God’s work.