“It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important.You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there’ll be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result.” – Gandhi [Tweet this.]
Does this really make a difference? Is giving to the cause really worth it? Does all the stress around being an amazing parent, impactful employee, great teacher or selfless leader actually matter?
My friends, these are questions most of us struggle with occasionally. Last Thursday afternoon in Gainesville, GA I was reminded, again, that everything we do matters.
The day began by raising awareness and donations for the United Way. Afterwards I was given a tour of the Northeast Georgia Health System before speaking to their leaders. Like most organizations, employees are being challenged to do more with less. I was invited in to thank them for their efforts, inspire them to continue forward and equip them with a few tools to remain highly effective and on mission.
A gentleman approached me afterwards, thanked me and asked my age. After sharing he said, me too. Then he asked how old I was when I was burned. When I shared it was the fourth grade he became visibly emotional.
Chris shared that when he was in the fourth grade his teacher learned of a little boy burned terribly in the Midwest. He remembers the teacher talking about how sick the boy was and how his family lost their house. The teacher invited the entire class to write the little boy a letter of encouragement.
For whatever reason, Chris was so moved that he brought home news of this little boy to his family. At dinner that night his family decided they could do even more than write letters. They prayed for this burned little boy and his family and decided to raise money for them, too. Chris and his brother did odd jobs around the neighborhood to raise money for the family that lost everything in a house fire. They sent the money along with their letter of encouragement.
Chris told me that when I started presenting to his colleagues that morning, he got goose bumps and immediately suspected I was the little boy from decades ago. He sent a text to his brother asking if he remembered the name of the little boy they used to pray for, write to and send money to. His brother’s response was, “His name was John O’Leary. Why?”
My friends, everything we do matters. [Tweet this.] Sometimes we don’t learn the full impact of our efforts this side of eternity. Other times you meet face-to-face with the impact of your efforts at a hospital leadership meeting.
But you see, it’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important. [Tweet this.] You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time and there may not seem to be any fruit. But that doesn’t mean you stop doing the right thing. It’s less about the results of your action and much more about the faithfulness, audacity and selflessness to take the action in the first place.
Your words, deeds and life matter profoundly. Act like it. [Tweet this.]
Who is someone who made a difference in your life that perhaps you never thanked? Could be a parent or a teacher, or it could have been the kind gesture of a stranger. Please share in the comments below. Today I want to thank Chris and his family. Thanks for the prayers, the letters and the cash! You helped rebuild our lives three decades ago and last week you reminded me that one person does in fact make a difference.
If you liked this post, sign up to receive my Monday Morning Motivation posts every Monday morning via email here.
0 replies on “Everything Matters”
Just last week I saw Drew Dudley’s TED Talk “Everyday Leadership.” In it, he encourages people to do the right thing — you’ll probably never know the impact you have on many others – but it is there none-the-less.
My husband is one of those people who have influenced others’ lives in a truely positive way. Over the years, there are several people that we know he impacted. I know there are many more we don’t know about. 🙂
Thank you for the reminder.
Thanks for living it Sherry! John
I wonder how many people you have touched and how many lives you have impacted over all these years. I bet you will never know. So for now, know that I am one. Thanks John. I appreciate you more than you’ll ever know.
Brother Greg: YOU have touched my life profoundly. Thanks for being my friend and showing how it is possible to thrive professionally, spiritually and relationally. You are a gift, Man ! John