Scott Levy, a United Methodist pastor, was preaching for a pastor friend one Sunday morning. He went early to the church to see what it was like and to get a feel for the context and atmosphere. As he was walking down a long hallway, his sermon notes in one hand and his pulpit robe draped over the other arm, he came upon a large room used as a nursery for preschoolers. Glancing in, he saw a little boy who looked about four years old, sitting all by himself.
The little boy said, “Hi, my name’s Tommy and I’m all alone in this big room.”
Scott, who had done a lot of counseling, decided to use his nondirective counseling technique on the little boy. He answered back, “You feel all alone in that big room?”
“I don’t just feel it,” said the little boy, “I know I am all alone!”
Trying to reassure the boy, Scott replied confidently, “Don’t you worry now. I’m sure that before too long somebody will come to be with you.”
With big eyes looking up at Scott, little Tommy said, “Why not you?”
Why not you?
That question has been asked through the ages. More often than not, we ignore it, neglect it, fail to hear it, or refuse to act upon it. Somehow we hope that someone else will come along and do what needs to be done.
The scenarios are endless:
- a problem needs to be solved
- a word needs to be spoken
- a job needs to be done
- a situation needs to be corrected
- a person needs to be helped
- a community needs to be transformed
- a reconciliation needs to be worked out
- a word of appreciation needs to be expressed
- or a wrong needs to be righted.
We know it. We see it.
We want these things done, but we expect someone else to do it. We feel that someone more talented will come along and do what needs to be done. If not more talented, we feel someone more eloquent, with more authority, or a greater commitment will come along and do what needs to be done.
I am convinced that God calls us to answer that question each time it is asked, “Why not you?” When I stop to think about it, I can see the great people of faith responded to the call of God. In the Scriptures, throughout history, and to this present day, the people who see a situation that needs to be made better are people of courage. They respond to the call of God in and through the question, “Why not you?” or “Why don’t you correct this?” They have the courage to take up the torch, to speak the word, to do the deed.
Moses, Isaiah, Jesus, Peter, Paul, Luther, Wesley, Mother Teresa, Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and many more like them recognized a problem and heard God calling them to do something about it. Each responded creatively and courageously to the question, “Why not you?”
It is my prayer that each of us will be prepared to answer God’s call. When you see what needs to be done, then know that God is calling you. God is asking, “Why don’t you do something about this? Why don’t you right this wrong? Why don’t you make this world a better place? Why don’t you give yourself to the care of these children, or to the feeding of these people, or to the leading of this group? Why not you?”
Well…why not you?
There is no one better to take up the cause. Remember, God does not call the qualified…God qualifies the called.
So, why not you?