Saturday, November 29, 2008

How to Think Like a Christian About Changing the World

It's too big a topic. It is definitely too big a challenge. There is no way that Christians- or anyone for that matter- can legitimately think that they will change the world. There is too much world that needs to be changed and I am only one person, after all. Who do I think I am?

There is a lot to do. There are AIDS orphans, starving refugees, global warming, racial profiling, sexual slavery, domestic abuse, drug addiction, disease, natural disasters, political oppression, civil unrest, rampant crime, imperialistic regimes, pirates on the high seas, and if that isn't enough, sometimes I get a hangnail. Sometimes I just want to give up. 

All too often that is just what happens. We know that bad things happen and that there are injustices all around the world, including our own neighborhoods, but we insulate ourselves from the consequences and the implications of it.

So when the infomercial about the starving children comes on the television, I change the channel as quickly as I can so I do not have the opportunity to get uncomfortable. When someone reminds me how much food I waste while others are dying of starvation, I rationalize that I could not send my leftovers to Africa anyway. What am I supposed to do, anyway?

First of all, we need to change the way we think. It was Charles Sheldon in his novel, In His Steps, who coined the question, What would Jesus do? We need to start thinking like Jesus thinks. We need to consider the needs, desires, hurts and hungers of others. We need to think about those in our homes, in our communities and around the world.

We should be thinking about how our actions effect others. We should think about how our lack of action effects others. You and I should begin being thoughtful about all that we do. Let us consider whether our actions are consistent with those of Jesus.

Secondly, like Jesus, we ought to begin placing the needs of others before our own. Jesus taught that the Son of Man came to serve others. We should be serving others. We need to be putting the needs of others before our own needs.

We also need to be consistent in our lives. It is not enough to think about changing the world. We need to do more than think of others' needs on Sundays. We must live lives of service on a regular basis. There is a great need for consistency in our lives.

We can never get the idea that our efforts are insignificant. Changing the world will take a long time. It will seem like nothing is happening. Do not give up. Do not think that you are not making a difference. The world is changed one life at a time. Our efforts are measured one day at a time. Remember that Martin Luther King, Jr. was not the great national civil rights leader when he preached his first sermon. It took time.

Finally, all those who would make a difference in the world must be committed to a life of changing the world. That is, we cannot get bored with our task. We must not be distracted when things get difficult. We can never quit, no matter how long change takes. We cannot waver even if we do not see the change in our life times.

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