I don’t usually watch a lot of television, but there is one show that I try to catch each week if I can. “The Australian Story” has been a very successful series for many years. I can think of a few possible reasons for this:
1. Most episodes are about an Australian who has achieved success in some area of life after encountering significant challenges and adversities.
2. They always have a strong inspirational and motivational value.
3. They encourage viewers to dream bigger and aim higher.
There was one particular episode I saw two or three years ago which had a lasting impact on me. I’m a bit hazy on the details but I’ll give you a brief overview of it as my memory permits (but don’t hold me to the accuracy of the content).
The story was about an Australian man who was very successful in Hollywood. He had one of those jobs many people would envy. It involved being the facilitator/escort on promotional tours of movie stars as they toured the world promoting their latest movie.
One of these tours took him to Cambodia. One day, during some of his down time, he hired a taxi and asked the driver to show him some of the poverty areas of the city. So the driver took him to the outer suburbs which were comparative slum areas, but the man clarified that he wanted to see the areas of extreme poverty. The driver then took him to the city garbage dump.
When he got out of the car, he saw large numbers of people living under sheets of plastic, cardboard or whatever they could find for shelter, and all the children were rummaging through the garbage looking for any edible food, or items they may be able to sell to make some money.
While he was there taking all this in, he took a call on his mobile phone. It was from one of the movie stars in her international hotel. She said, “I need to lodge a complaint. I made a specific request for certain food items and they have not been made available. LIFE SHOULD NOT BE THIS DIFFICULT.”
So there he was, surrounded by kids up to their knees in decomposing garbage, trying to find something to eat which would sustain them for another day, while he was responding to a complaint from a very wealthy lady who considered herself disadvantaged because a particular luxury food item wasn’t available on this occasion.
That phone call changed the direction of his life.
He determined right there that as soon as he got back to America, he would sell up all his luxury possessions, then go back to Cambodia and establish a residential facility specifically to take children off the dump and provide them with decent accommodation and food, and opportunities. That became his new purpose in life.
What I love about that story is that it is about someone who encountered a situation of great human suffering and responded with compassion to an inner prompting.
The story initiated the following strong conviction in me:
As a Christian, whenever I encounter a situation (either physically or through the media), where I find myself saying, “This is a really terrible situation – someone should do something about it”, then I need to be very aware of the possibility that God may be prompting me with the words,
“WHY NOT YOU? Why shouldn’t you be the one to initiate some action in response to this situation of human suffering or injustice?”
I know that if my response to such a prompting is, “Well, although I’m really passionate about this, I don’t have the availability or resources to do anything at the moment”, then I will be reminded of the following bible verse:
1 John 5: 14, 15
This is the assurance we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us – whatever we ask – we know that we have what we have asked of him.
A personal discovery I made a couple of years ago is the power of the words in one sentence:
“I’VE DECIDED I’M GOING TO DO THIS!”
It is a good declaration to make when you feel prompted to do something that is way outside of your comfort zone, because by saying those words, you make yourself accountable to yourself. My own experience is that actions will follow those words.
I recently watched a really powerful motivational video on YouTube. The speaker said, “Be sure that you don’t take your big dreams to the grave with you. The graveyard is the richest place on earth because dreams have been buried there which had the potential to transform the world.”