Thursday, March 25, 2010

Making A Difference

I quickly changed the channel last Sunday. 60 Minutes was doing a report from Haiti. The suffering is unimaginable. Not for long though. I quickly changed the channel and found a game or a House Hunters episode or something like that. I’ve really been struggling with my purpose and if I’m really making a contribution to our world. I concurrently look at half million dollar homes while 29,000 children die of starvation each day.

My newly adopted city that I call home is not much different than other places I’ve lived: nice suburb, a Starbucks on each corner (which is where I currently am blogging), 2.6 kids per house, and everyone walks their dogs on clean, trouble-free sidewalks. I justify my moderate greed by pointing to corrupt third world leaders and a high cost of living in the U.S.

Am I really making a difference? After a new friend bought my coffee the other day (a cool story in itself), I had a meeting with a woman who has dedicated her life to the Lost Boys of Sudan. She’s looking for U.S. Americans to join with her to invest in these young men, using one of our greatest resources – money!

Five hours later I had coffee with a man who has become so concerned with social justice that he hopes to begin his own company with the intention of giving as much of his profits as possible to the needy.

The difference between the two? One is a follower of Jesus, the other is not. This is not surprising. You could say that both are “good” people who understand that life is not all about having as much fun as possible. Though one pursues God and the other one’s church is perhaps NPR and the EPA, I would say both have been living out the convictions of the Holy Spirit to varying degrees. Hear me out.

The mark of God is on every human being – some more than others, though you’d have to question that statement upon watching many people in action. The Bible tells us “God is love” and that Jesus is the “creator and sustainer of life.” Romans 2 says that we all have God’s imprint: our hearts and our consciences. So whether it be merely someone’s breath, showing an act of love, or making sacrifices for the poor – all humans reveal God’s fingerprint.

In Luke 4 Jesus announces that He is God’s anointed one who will temporarily and eternally free the oppressed and poor. His Jewish audience is amazed. Then he relates that his Father is seeking faith from all people, not just Jews. Then he gives two examples of extreme faith displayed by two Gentiles (non-Jews) from the Old Testament. The congregation becomes furious at his suggestion and proceeds to try to kill him.

For any Christians reading this entry, I submit that I haven’t lost my conviction that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. He is the narrow gate we must walk to and through for reconciliation with God. But it’s time to see God’s hand at work not only in our lives, but also in the lives of those who haven’t fully understood or embraced him – especially if they’re surpassing our own selflessness.

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