“Someone else will do it.”
Maybe some of us have done and thought that very thing at one time or another. Some of us see a garbage can rolling around in the street in our neighborhood and we drive around it.
“Someone else will pick that up.”
Or we hear someone make a pitch for volunteers for some event or activity and we think “I’ll let someone else handle that.” Or we see someone struggling to change a flat tire on a busy road and we just drive on past.
“If they REALLY needed help they would have called someone on their cellphone.” Or we walk past homeless person after homeless person, day after day, without giving a dollar. “Let the shelters take care of them. They have options. I can’t be bothered.”
Somebody else will do it. Sadly, this can often be the mantra of our lives; a kind of prayer of inconsiderateness.
“There are different kinds of spiritual gifts . . . different forms of service . . . different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone.”
This passage from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians is likely very familiar to us. It’s a very beautiful and uplifting reading, illustrating for us the idea that the gifts God gives us are spread over the entirety of humanity. Everyone has something to offer, yet no one really has every gift. Rather, collectively, God’s works are made complete and bear fruit through humanity as a whole. God doesn’t gift a few. He gifts us all. And that’s a pretty comforting thought.
And yet, maybe that’s really not enough. Maybe we need to consider God’s gifts in a very narrow way, not in the broadest sense. You see, if we simply say that some people have patience, and some have a generous heart, and some are intellectually gifted, and some are good listeners, and so forth, that does not demand anything from us, does it? After all, I can’t be the only person with certain gifts. Or can I? And if so, what does that mean?
In one sense, it seems kind of ridiculous to think that every single individual has some unique gift that no one else has. Is that even possible? But think about it: each human person is absolutely one-of-a-kind. Even identical twins — who have the exact same DNA — aren’t the same in every way.
We have different personalities. We have different life experiences. We have different families and co-workers and friends. We live in different places and have different interests and different jobs and different likes and dislikes.
And then we mix-in the specific gifts God gives us and, well, it seems we can only come to one conclusion. And it is this — there are some things, done certain ways, in certain circumstances, that can only be done by us and through us — through you and through me. Think about how profound that is.
The implication of such a belief is there are certain things God wants and expects and hopes for the world that might never become a reality or made manifest unless one particular individual does one particular thing in one particular circumstance.
What a gift! What a blessing! And what a responsibility!
Someone else will do it? Will someone else will take care of it — almost certainly not. They won’t take care of it in the exact same way you or I can, given our God-given uniqueness, and our God-given gifts — gifts given which fit us perfectly.
May we never try to pass the buck when it comes to loving. God is waiting. The world is waiting. And maybe, just maybe, this is one of those times when no one else will do. Let’s believe it, let’s embrace it, and let’s act on it.
Deacon Stuart Neslin is a Parish Deacon and Parish Administrator at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rome.