Do One Hard Thing in 2014

Do One Hard Thing in 2014I don’t know about you, but the pressure and pace of life seems to be increasing every year. When you add the constant bombardment of information and technology to our already full schedules, slowing life down seems as unlikely as stopping a runaway freight train. On top of that, add twenty-seven New Year’s resolutions, and it is no wonder most of us give them up by February. The simple truth is that it’s hard to add one more thing to our lives; but maybe that is what we really need. Maybe in 2014, we need to add one hard thing.

I want to suggest that you consider taking on a challenge in this New Year. It was a challenge we took as a family last year when we read through the book, Do Hard Things with our boys. We were doing 101 good things, but we were so busy that it made us miss out on a significant thing that was right in front of us. Instead of being paralyzed by all the needs around us, we decided to pick one. Instead of making too many commitments that we did in a half-hearted way, we purposed to do for one, what we wished we could do for everyone.

Doing one hard thing requires focus. It requires wading through lots of good ideas and praying for the one significant thing the Lord impresses on your heart and mind.

Any hunter knows that a well-placed shot with a single bullet trumps the scattered buckshot from a shotgun any day of the week.

I want to share a story that I believe illustrates this point. It is a story about a couple living in Missouri in 1864. Moses and Susan Carver lived in a slave state, but they didn’t believe in slavery. That made them a target for Quantrill’s Raiders, who showed up one January night at the Moses’ farm breathing hate. They burned down the barn, shot a few people and dragged off a black woman named Mary and her infant son George.

Mary and Moses’ wife, Susan, were not of the same race, but they were friends. A decision had to be made. Accept what had just happened as something that could not be changed or do one very hard thing.

Moses and Susan spent two days frantically searching until they located the bandits a few hours north in a remote section of Kansas. They arranged a meeting and Moses rode his only horse to meet them at midnight. Wearing flour sacks over their heads with holes cut out for the eyes and carrying torches, Moses rode into the camp of the Quantrill Raiders. It was clear in that moment that Mary was already dead. The leader threw a dirty burlap bag at Moses’ feet. Inside was a cold, naked, half-dead, infant boy. Moses picked up the child. They took his horse in exchange.

Moses opened his coat and placed the freezing child next to his warm skin, and then began the day and a half walk home. Moses and Susan committed that day to raise little George Washington Carver as their own son. That was one hard thing to do during the Civil War in the South – but it proved to be a significant and life-changing choice.

George Washington Carver grew up to be one of the greatest, most influential Americans who ever lived. His commitment to Christ and his pursuit of scientific discovery make him an example whose great influence still has ripple effects.It wasn’t just his agricultural ingenuity for crops like cotton and sweet potatoes, or the development of over a hundred uses for peanuts that marked his legacy. His life and work gave African-Americans in America hope for what they could accomplish in a free society.

All of this happened because Moses and Susan decided to do one hard thing, one providential night in 1864. There were likely dozens of important things vying for their time that year, but only one was significant enough to leave a lasting mark. And that is what dropping everything to do one thing can produce – a legacy.

How do you discover that one hard thing? I would encourage you to pray like Paul in Philippians 1:9,“ And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best.” This is a great prayer. Remember to ask for guidance as you pursue his plan. Ask God: “Help me by your Holy Spirit to have the insight to pour my energy into the things you want me to do this year, discerning what to say no to so I can say yes to the best things.” When you pray like this, it is amazing what God can do with your life.

Maybe in 2014, God is calling you do something like Moses and Susan. With hundreds of children coming into foster care each year, only God knows what each child needs or who they will become one day. Maybe, as you pray, there is one child, one family that needs you. Like Moses and Susan, it may require great sacrifice, but at the same time, may be the most significant thing you will ever do in your life. That is the opportunity that awaits you this year.

“When you do the common things in life in an uncommon way, you will command the attention of the world” (George Washington Carver).

What hard thing will you and your family take on in 2014? Share your answer with us by emailing [email protected].

Pastor Doug Sauder is a south Florida native and the President of 4KIDS of South Florida.

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