Doing nothing is a national pastime. Large cities are full of Christians who don’t want to get involved as witnesses or help those less fortunate. There is a good reason for this.
It’s easier to do nothing. Fold your arms and judge. Turn your head and ignore. Critique others about what they should be doing or what you would do if you were to actually do something. It’s the easier way.
But it’s not the way of Jesus.
There is a temptation toward apathy for many of the followers of Jesus when it comes to the great issues of our time. They’ve seen the failure of government and politics. They are skeptical of institutions and organizations. They don’t have the nirvana dreams of their parents, believing they can change the world. They don’t have the blind faith of their grandparents who believed in the power of power.
They doubt everything, trust no one, and are tempted to do nothing.
But it’s a temptation we must confront.
Now is not the time to grow apathetic. It is not the time for good people to do nothing. It is not the time to hope someone else makes a difference with the problems of this world. I get the apathy. I’m tempted toward it as well:
- The problems are complex. Nearly every local problem is linked to larger issues. For example, what chance do we have to solve problems when a local drug issue is actually a minor plot line in a global struggle of gangs, violence, and money?
- The people number in the multitudes. We can help one person, but most issues we face impact thousands, if not millions of people. It’s nearly impossible to make a dent on any major issue.
- So many before us have failed. What makes us think we are any different?
- There is so much criticism. Action will always receive criticism. It’s not for the faint of heart.
The reasons not to be involved are numerous, yet there is one thing which keeps me involved. There is one reason why the criticism is worth it, why I state my opinion, why I take my water gun into the fire and do what I can. The one reason is Jesus.
- While the problems are numerous and overwhelming, with little hope that we can greatly change many things, the call we have from the life of Jesus is to serve. So a believer is to serve.
- We can’t be apathetic, because Jesus was never apathetic.
- We can’t be the sideline critic, because Jesus chose to get into the game.
- We can’t say the problems are too big or the ones hurting are too many, because God is bigger and knows each of the hurting by name.
Faith demands that we have the courage to serve. It doesn’t demand that we hold positions of leadership. It doesn’t demand that everyone serves in the same way. It doesn’t require every believer to be passionate about the exact same issue. We are to take our God-given skills, passions, and experiences, find an issue and start trying to make this world better.
Our faith keeps us from being deceived into believing it is all on us. It prevents us from believing we are earning God’s love or forgiveness. It gives us a sense of gratitude even in the midst of the struggle. But it causes us to serve.
Our faith causes us to ignore the critics. We might even appreciate the critics. Jesus had them. He promised us we would have them as well. Show me someone who isn’t being criticized from every side, and I’ll show you someone who probably isn’t doing any meaningful work.
Our faith causes us to ignore the doubts. We know we can’t solve problems on our own, but we aren’t called to solve problems. We are called to be involved in what God is doing in this world – to walk alongside the suffering, the outcast, the lonely, and the hurting.
Our faith causes us to ignore the failures. What we consider a failure, God might consider a success. We never know the true impact of our work. We don’t judge our actions solely based on what we see because we know God is doing far more than we can imagine.
I don’t know what causes a person without faith to endure the hardships of leadership. I admire their strength and stamina even as I disagree with their worldview. Yet I do know what causes a follower of Jesus to strive in the midst of leadership – it is Jesus Himself. Because of what He has done and continues to do, those of us who are His followers will continue to have the courage to serve, lead, and be involved in making this world a better place.
Are you tempted toward apathy? Follow Jesus.
Are you overwhelmed by the problems? Look toward Jesus.
Are you tired of the critics? Listen to Jesus.
He has not called us to the sidelines. He has called us to be engaged in His activity in this world.