Douglas MacKinnon: The Good Friday-Easter three hour challenge

Three hours.

Can we give just three hours of our time in the service of someone in need?

On Good Friday – the day and time when Christians the world over reflect upon the crucifixion of Jesus Christ – can we use the inspiration, glory, and salvation from that ultimate sacrifice to make a real difference in the life of a fellow human being in distress?

Millions of Christians pause in prayer from noon until 3 p.m. on Good Friday as a way to honor Jesus and thank Him for such a divine offering.

Three hours.

While those three hours are in remembrance of the time Jesus suffered on the cross, they can also be transformed into a light that brightens the lives of countless people suffering on their own in silence.

Be it on Good Friday, Easter Sunday, or once a week, once a month, or once a year, what if some of us from any faith — or no faith — spent three hours of our time helping those being forgotten, neglected, or marginalized by society?

Medical science is now making it clear that loneliness is not only as debilitating as many diseases, but just as fatal in some cases.

The elderly among us being the most at risk, and the most negatively impacted.

We all know someone alone through no fault or desire of their own. Men and women who often eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner alone. Day after day. Year after year.

Tragically, more and more are choosing to end their lives to stop the pain.

If we don’t personally know someone going through such loneliness, our place of worship, our place or work, or multiple organizations can point us in the right direction.

Three hours.

Once a week, once a month, or once a year, spend three hours with someone literally wasting away from the debilitating effect of loneliness and change a life for the better.

While there are millions of people in such mental agony, there are millions of us who are not. Pair up and delete a name from that lonely list.

Three hours to take someone shopping. Three hours to take someone to the movies. Three hours to go to dinner. Three hours to go to a park. Three hours to accompany someone for a doctor or hospital visit. Three hours to learn from the amazing life experiences of someone older and wiser than us.

Most human misery will never be solved in the macro sense. No matter how good the intentions, that is a reality that will never change.

That said, human misery can be solved, or at the very least, greatly minimized, in the micro sense.

One-on-one charity is often dramatically more effective – and much more personally rewarding – than that managed by huge organizations through the impersonal act of writing a check or swiping a credit card.

There is so much human suffering that can be alleviated without the expenditure of one penny. The often life-crushing despair of loneliness is just one.

What is your cause? Whose plight touches you most deeply?

No matter the cause, surely three hours of one person’s time – multiplied by millions – will make a positive and lasting difference.

The three-hour challenge. Be it around a religious holiday or not, pick a cause, take the challenge, and then pass it along.

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