Knowing what to do when you recognize a crisis is not always easy. Millions went to concerts yesterday to help raise awareness of poverty in the world, especially in Africa. At some point in the run up to the event I found myself screaming “stop! I get it. I understand this is a huge, overwhelming problem. The impact on humanity is intolerable. I agree we need to do something about it. What?”
“What” is a big question. I find myself struggling to reach agreement on what hasn’t worked in the past. I grabble with history, fearful we are squandering our opportunity to do something that will be meaningful and lasting. My fear rests in the fact that I do not find enough focus on the “what”; just on the problem. There are hundreds, thousands, perhaps millions of options. To do nothing is not a viable choice; each is called to action. Naturally we want our actions to have meaning, to make an impact, and to have a legacy. Inevitably we find the search for an answer that makes sense frustrating, illusive, and often numbing. There is so much pain. Devastation and death haunts our view at every turn. Injustice seems to be the norm, not the exception. When we turn from Africa we find the same types of problems in India and even in our own backyards in England, Australia, and America.
In the spirit of trying to help, I would like to offer a simple suggestion. The first action each must grabble with isn’t one which initially touches others. Our first task is personal. It rests with our hearts, souls, and the values we hold closest to our hearts. I am not immune with this observation. I can offer my action to you as a recommendation. “I'm consecrating myself [to God] for their sakes so they'll be truth-consecrated in their mission.” (John 17.19)
Every action after this will bring with it its own set of challenges and hurdles. Yet no challenge will ever be greater than the first, nor more difficult or rewarding.
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