If you haven’t picked up on it from my other blogs this week, I’m not a big fan of 24-hour news networks. If you don’t know why, then read the last two posts. It just gets depressing hearing all the negative things going on in the world over and over again.
Democrats who think that the Republicans are ruining everything. Republicans who think the Democrats are dumb as rocks. People on your newsfeed always upset about the latest trendy thing to be upset about. It’s enough to make you want to put on Coldplay and eat cereal as you cry softly into your bowl.
I’m not saying we need to turn a blind eye to the serious issues at hand, but do you ever look at the world and just think, “What the heck happened?”
Constant wars. Constant fighting. Constant bickering. Constant hunger.
The list goes on and on.
Looking at all of the problems lined up against each other will easily make you frustrated. So you put on “Waiting on the World to Change” by John Mayer and move on with your life and just say, “It’s really not my problem to fix.”
I remember when I was in college I heard a missionary from India come speak at our church about all they were doing to help the people over there. The sex slaves. The hungry. The persecuted. It was one of those messages where you just get a good look at the real world and stories you’d normally never hear about.
I left that day feeling skeptical that my $6 offering would do much good for anyone in India. I was also thinking about the clean water needed in Haiti. The research and medicine needed for the HIV positive in Africa. The food needed in South America. And the hurting and hungry in my own city.
I was overwhelmed. I was sad for the less fortunate. I felt guilty. And worst of all, I felt helpless.
But as I was thinking and praying about it, I started to get the sense that maybe I wasn’t meant to fix all of the problems in the world. Maybe it wasn’t my responsibility to make sure that every well was dug and that every mouth was fed. Maybe it’s not my job to go to every country in the world and first-hand deliver medicine.
I don’t think I’m responsible to change the world. I’m responsible to change my world.
There’s a reason you might feel more passionately about digging wells in Haiti than you do caring for orphans in Kenya. There’s a reason that you might get more excited about bringing education to South Africans than you do about putting up homes in Mexico. Or maybe you feel called to counsel broken and scared pregnant women in your own city and have no drive to go anywhere near Asia. It’s because we each have our own callings and passions that we are responsible for.
It’s not that we don’t care about the other needs in the world or that we are never moved to help in some way, but I believe that we each have unique responsibilities to the contribute to the world around us. I can’t fly to all the countries in Africa and feed people there, but I can deliver turkeys with my church on Thanksgiving to the hungry in my own community. I can’t meet with U.S. Presidents like Bono can, but I can listen to my friends when they come to me and are hurting. That’s the world I am called to change. That’s the world that I am called to action for.
Mother Teresa said, “If I look at the mass I will never act.” She was saying that if she tried to look at every single need that needed to be met she would probably just get frustrated and quit. But when she looked at the individuals around her, she did something about it.
The real change doesn’t come from the next big justice trend to hit the Internet. The world doesn’t need another celebrity campaign to put things back on track. The world needs its able citizens to meet the needs of the people around them. That’s where we start. That’s where we act.
You might feel a stir in your heart to drop everything and move overseas and hand out Bibles or help with hunger, but if you’re not meeting needs in your 5-mile radius, you won’t last trying to meet them 5,000 miles away.
If you really want to see change, then today is a good day to start. I bet there’s someone without a voice that needs you to speak up for them today. I bet there’s someone who is in need of you to defend them.
We can change the world. We change it one world at a time.