Have you ever been watching the news or reading social media and thought, “Someone ought to do something about that!” If you’re like me, it happens often because there is so much out there that ought to be fix!
This may surprise you, but from God’s perspective you are the one who is supposed to actually do it!
There’s a scene in John 17 where Jesus is praying for his disciples and says in verse 15 not to take them out of this world but protect them from the evil one. In other words, Jesus purposely left us here to do kingdom work. And part of that kingdom work is to do something about the injustices, unrighteousness, and evil we encounter in our world.
I firmly believe that each of us has in us a holy discontent for things that God wants us to address. It’s funny but have you noticed that different things bother different people. I may be up in arms about one thing that really doesn’t bother another person, but they have a different hot button that doesn’t really fire me up. I think that is on purpose. Each of us has a role to play for Jesus – each of us is gifted in different ways – so that we can take on the plethora of things that this fallen and dying world throws at us.
Unfortunately, most don’t really act on their holy discontent. Instead, they either expect God or someone else to do something about it or they simply resort to symbolism over substance which has little to no effect of affecting real change.
I get that the issues over which we have holy discontent may seem too big for little old us to tackle. But that denies the power of Christ in you! We seem to forget that we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit – the same Holy Spirit whose power raised the dead, healed the lame, and hovered over the waters of creation! Is God’s arm to short? Can we not do all things through Christ who strengthens us?
Is racism your holy discontent? If so, reach out to people of color in your community and do something to bridge the gap! Arrange meetings or town halls to get people together to discuss cultural differences that have led to mistrust, disrespect, and divisiveness. Heck, you could even get a Hispanic church, an African American church, a Chinese church, a Korean church, a Russian church, and a predominately white church to work together on various projects in your community. If you think someone ought to do something about race relations, do it!
Is poverty your holy discontent? Jesus told us the poor would always be with us, so we know that we’ll never really solve the problem. Yet, Jesus also told us take care of those who cannot take care of themselves so we can’t ignore the issue just because it’s not going away. Instead we should be doing all we can to help the poor but in ways that actually help them become self-sufficient. It’s not all about giving money. Instead, mentor someone or a group and help them learn life skills they may not have. Walk with them to support them in their times of struggle to keep them on the right path. Share Jesus with them so they can find true healing. Of course, if you’re a person of means help provide for them but do so in a way that is a hand up not an enabling hand out. Do more than just write a check to the local mission. Engage!
Is the abuse of children your holy discontent? How about setting up respite day care for mothers at the end of their rope who need a break? How about teaching parenting skills to young parents who have not had the proper experience in their own lives to appropriately care for a child? What if you were to become a foster parent to a child in need, nurturing that child back to health through the love of Christ?
I think you can see where I’m going with all this. No matter what your holy discontent there is something you personally can do about it!
Yes, it means sacrifice and often it takes a lot of it! I know that it is a lot easier to write a check, write a letter to the editor, or contact your legislator urging them to do something. But that is not what God calls us to. He put that holy discontent in you so that you would take action. Christian is a verb not a noun!
For many, doing something will take moving outside a comfort zone but Jesus didn’t call us to be comfortable, He called us to love God and love others which can be quite uncomfortable!
So, where do you start? First, identify those things you think ought to be addressed; issues that really make your blood boil. Next, brainstorm how to engage those issues in your local community. Next – and this is the hard part – take the lead! I know this is not easy for everyone, but God gave you a spirit of boldness not of fear and made you a royal priesthood! He has equipped you with gifts and skills, He has given you authority, and He has provided you His Holy Spirit. What else do you need?
Lead by reaching out to others and build a relationship with them to address your issue. In business we call this strategic partnering where we connect with others and leverage each other’s skills, abilities and resources to do what we cannot do alone. Create strategic partnerships and not just the traditional ones such as church to church. Create non-traditional strategic partnerships such as church to the parole office; or you to your local high school counseling office; or your small group with a community of people of color. There really are a thousand different way to connect and once you connect you can really start to be a change agent for Christ!
I spent 20 years or so working in politics. Former Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill once said that all politics is local. The same is true for our ministry – all ministry is local. You want to make a difference on the immigration issue? Start in your community. You want to make a difference on the life issue? “Adopt” a pregnant woman who has no other support and be with her during AND after her pregnancy. You feel strongly about prison reform? Start locally by working with ex-cons on “re-entry” to help them get their life back in order and re-enter society in a positive way.
If every Christian who had a holy discontent did something about it locally imagine the impact we could make not just in our own communities but throughout our nation! And that is my plea to you today – do something! Let’s stop talking about how bad things are and let’s get out there and engage our world for Jesus!!