February 25th, 2024

How to Serve When Nobody Does the Work That Anybody Can Do


“Can’t we call somebody?” my son asked with an annoyed sigh.

It was an early morning before the neighborhood recycling truck made its rounds in our area.  High winds had strewn empty plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, and an assortment of newspapers and old sales ads across several lawns, including our own. Numerous recycling bins had been blown over and were lying on their sides.

As my son and I surveyed the mess, it was clear to me that we had to do something.  As I slipped on my running shoes, I grabbed a large garbage bag. I found my yellow rubber cleaning gloves and immediately went to work on my neighbor’s yard.  I encouraged my son to get another bag to help me.  He resisted.

“Why do we have to pick up all this trash?  It’s not even our stuff.  Why can’t we just get somebody else to do it?”

As I picked up an empty soup can, I explained to him the responsibility that comes with being part of a community.

“If you want the benefits of living in a nice area, you have to contribute.  Part of our contribution as a family is taking responsibility.  When you see something that needs to be done, you do it.  When you are part of a community, you don’t have to call anybody to do what you can easily do yourself.  If you see an issue that needs to be addressed, you should be part of the solution. You become part of the problem when you see a need and ignore it.”

My son’s question reminded me of this story. Maybe you’ve read it before, but it’s worth revisiting:

“That’s Not My Job”  – Author Unknown

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.  There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.  Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.  Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.  Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.  It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

We Are the “Body” of Doers

Like my son who wanted to ‘call somebody’, it is in this same way that you, Team Jesus, have been called.  Now, you may be thinking “Whoa, now, wait a minute…nobody has called me!”  Before you dismiss the idea, consider this.

How many times have you noticed an issue in your community or in your local church?  Are there teens within your reach who you’ve observed that obviously need some guidance?  Perhaps you’ve seen a single mother in your church that looks like she needs some encouragement. Maybe you’ve noted a local park that is not as clean as it should be.

If you’ve seen an issue and have noted it more than once, could it be that God is prompting YOU to do something about it? I’d like to encourage you to not ignore this call.

Here are 5 things you can do to step up:

See yourself as God sees you.

Looking at yourself through your own lens of self-imposed limitations is a mistake.  Often times, we disqualify ourselves from service because of our own perceived personal shortcomings.

You are exactly who God says you are.  His word about you does not change!  It is the same day in and day out, despite your feelings.

Every day, you are the head and not the tail (Deuteronomy 28:13).

Every day, you are above and not beneath.

Every day, you are more than a conqueror through Christ who loves you (Romans 8:37).

You may think that you are not equipped to do what He has called you to do.  To the contrary, the words of 2 Corinthians 4:7 is our qualifying statement.  The power and anointing come from God and not from us. The only reason that you will have an impact is because of the God-given anointing.  The power to affect change does not come from you, it comes from Him!

Stop looking at other people.

Ephesians 2:10 tells us that we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works.  He has prepared these opportunities for us so that we can do His will, and bring Him glory.  This means you, Team, not someone else.

Often we dismiss our own gifts and talents because we are so busy looking at what others are doing. Team, we are not all meant to play the same position. Stop looking to see what others are doing and focus on what God has called YOU to do. 1 Peter 4:10 reminds us that each one of us should use our gifts to serve the body.  Resist the urge to covet the skills of your teammates.  Kill the unspoken spirit of competition through humility.  Refuse to listen to the enemy by comparing yourself to your teammates.   We are all in this together!

Expand your thinking.

Do not put God in a box!  Be careful of closing the boundaries of what God can do through you.

While you may initially think that picking up trash or mentoring is a small thing, it can have a great impact on the community around you. Your seemingly small acts of service can encourage and energize others!

As our neighbors saw us walking around the neighborhood picking up the trash, a couple of them decided to join us! Our action inspired them to get involved too! They were enthusiastic and eager to help. As a result, we were able to make connections that made our network stronger.  As you work in the area that God has called you to, He will send people to partner with you to help you accomplish His purpose.

Count the cost.

Service requires sacrifice. Serving others will cost you time, energy and possibly resources.  While I am not saying that you should blindly give up all of your time for a cause, I am saying that you should seriously consider what you may have to give up in order to serve.

For us, it cost a couple of garbage bags, a little mud on our shoes, and thirty minutes.  For you, it could require a few hours.  The opportunity to be used by God to be a blessing in the life of someone else is well worth what we may have to temporarily give up. Galatians 6:9 reminds us that we will reap the harvest if we do not give up. And, the cost cannot be compared to any harvest from God (Romans 8:18).

Don’t wait for anybody (or everybody).

Because you’ve seen the need, you cannot wait for somebody else to address it. James 4:17 leaves us without excuse.  If we would have waited for someone else to pick up the debris in our neighborhood, our immediate area would have been a complete mess.  Even though the trash was not specifically ours, we could not just leave it to chance.  I could not just sit at my window looking out at the debris and hope that someone else would pick up the garbage that I had discovered.

Being active members of Team Jesus requires that we DO something. As the body of Christ, we can no longer sit back and see an issue and not address it.  We cannot simply talk about the youth being misguided and never take the time to mentor them.  As Team Jesus, we should not see a teammate struggling and not offer to help. Even though these problems may not be specifically ours, we must look for ways to be part of the solution by being willing to serve.

So, What’s the Play Call?

Our acts of service reflect the love of Christ.  John 13:35 reminds us that we will be identified as His followers by the love we show.

Be open to the areas that God may be calling you to be used by him.  As a result of our service, people can be drawn to a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Are you Anybody, Somebody, Everybody or Nobody?

We are called to be the BODY.  It’s time to go and serve!

Lamica A. Burnett
An aspiring author and new blogger, Lamica Burnett is a mother of 4 and has been married to the love of her life for 21 years. She’s been journaling since age 6 and accepted Christ at age 18. An accountant by profession, Lamica is obsessed with beautiful stationery and all things paper.
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Share this post



More like this

Christian Living is a Team Sport, Don’t Go At It Alone

Christian living is a "we" thing, not a "me" thing. Learn how our faith walk gets better when we do it together versus in isolation.

Spiritual Surgery: 4 Ways to Cooperate with God

The Great Physician will see us now! Here are 4 ways to prepare for spiritual surgery and trust God through the process.

The Work of the Church: Serving the King and the Least of These

Does your "church work" include service to others? Here are 5 creative ways to serve the King of kings and the least of these all at the same time.

Does Your ‘Good Fight of Faith’ Land Blows or Beat the Air? Here are 3 Ways to Tell.

Are you landing good blows in your good fight of faith, or just beating the air? Here's how the real contenders for the faith fight.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x