We just completed a study called Weird by Craig Groeschel in our adult Sunday school. I really enjoy Groeschel’s stuff – he’s honest and to the point. Weird was a six-part series challenging Christians to live a life that most people would consider weird.
As Christians we are to love our enemies, pray for those who persecute us, turn the other cheek (accept an insult), forgive others as we’ve been forgiven, and all that stuff. Groeschel takes those ideals and puts them into everyday experiences where we have to choose to be weird and do things differently than how the rest of the world might respond.
I want to talk briefly today about his last lecture during which he challenges us to be weird by embracing the pain of the things that bother us. Not so much the personal stuff, but things you see in your community, state, country, or world that gets to you.
Groeschel borrows from Bill Hybels who defined this as “Holy Discontent” or seeing things through God’s eyes and being pained by the things that pain God. But Groeschel goes a step further and says that God wants to bless you with such a burden!
I never really had thought about it that way. Certainly there are things that happen around the world that bother me. I have a righteous anger when people are treated unjustly. It bothers me that we have children who are homeless and go hungry. I get fired up when there is seemingly no accountability or justice for people who do evil. But I never considered these feelings a blessing, rather I felt inadequate because there’s nothing I can really do about it.
Groeschel asks three questions:
- What is it that breaks your heart?
- What is it that makes you righteously angry?
- What is it you care about that other people don’t seem to care about?
Then he tells us to let our burden move us to action. I think most of us have burdens but few of us are moved to action either because we don’t feel we can make a difference or we don’t know how to make a difference. But Groeschel doesn’t let us lean on that excuse; he tells us that if the ministry doesn’t exist in our church, start it! If people don’t know about the problem, start the crusade yourself and let everyone know!
As you read those last two sentences perhaps you’re feeling like I did when I wrote them. Trying to engage this stuff by myself would be like clapping with one hand– not very effective. But that’s the point, we’re not alone.
Luke 4:18-19 tells us, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Psalm 146:7-9 reads, “He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets prisoners free, 8 the Lord gives sight to the blind, the Lord lifts up those who are bowed down, the Lord loves the righteous. 9 The Lord watches over the foreigner and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.”
It is actually God doing the work not you. There’s a saying that may help you understand what I mean: God doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called. When you see the world as God does and you start to feel that holy discontent God will call you to act and if He calls you to act He will provide you the tools you need to be successful for Him.
The key for us is to be strong enough to have enough faith and trust in God that He actually will enable us as we step boldly into the issue that breaks our heart. And I think that is where the rubber meets the road – sometimes we just don’t trust God enough that He will actually come through, and if it’s all up to us we don’t feel comfortable moving forward.
Recently I was at such a crossroads and that was my challenge. I clearly hear God calling me to a ministry but did I really trust what I was hearing and did I really believe that God would go before me and make my paths straight? What was I willing to risk for God?
My answer was this: I am willing to risk everything for God so I moved forward in faith and trust.
Are there things that break your heart? Do you have righteous anger over something? Are you feeling that holy discontent? Then get up and do something about it. Pray that God reveals the truth to you about the issue(s) on your mind, and then pray that God enables you to be an effective witness for Him as you step out in faith to house the homeless, feed the hungry, cloth the naked, care for the widow and/or orphan, or whatever your issue is.
It is easy to think that there is nothing we can do and in fact that is one of the lies Satan is counting on so we Christians don’t act. But imagine if all two billion of us raised our voices and said we wouldn’t stand for these things any more what a difference we could make!