Signposts: Daily Devotions

Friday, May 23

How does God’s love abide in anyone who has the world’s goods and sees a brother or sister in need and yet refuses help?
—1 John 3:17

Years ago, the New Yorker ran a George Booth cartoon depicting a man sitting at a typewriter, obviously a victim of writer’s block. Surrounding him were at least a dozen mongrel dogs, some scratching, some sleeping, some grimacing. And in the background, a woman stood in the doorway, her hands on her hips in a stance of consternation. “Write about dogs,” she told the man.

Had he never thought of that? Just like this cartoon character, we often miss what is right in front of our eyes. We search diligently for a “cause” or an outlet for our gifts when, all along, the most pressing need lies immediately at our feet.

"Where the needs of the world and your talents cross, there lies your  vocation,” Aristotle observed in the 4th Century BCE. More recently, writer Frederick Buechner put it this way: “Vocation is where the world’s greatest need and a person’s greatest joy meet." Our “greatest joy,” that which energizes and engages us, is left untapped only at a price—that price being not just the welfare of our community, but also the truth of who we are.

Finding our path in life can be hard, but if we are observant, we will see that we are surrounded by needs that cry out for exactly what we have. 


O God, help me to be aware of the needs that surround me, always grateful for your gifts and always ready to use them.

The Signposts for May are written by Susan Hanson and originally appeared on in September 2004.