A really brilliant student with which I had the joy of sharing a trip to Sierra Leone, West Africa shared this on Facebook this week: “After ordering five things and two drinks from Taco Bell for my roommate and I, the guy asks me if I want to donate a $1 to “end world hunger”… well, when you say it like that… of course I will donate a dollar. My trip to taco bell just saved the world. What have you done today?”
My friend conveyed with irony in a Facebook post what I suspect many of us already feel. Something about the trendiness of social consciousness has shifted the effort of the jar at the end of the counter from “donating a dollar to cure breast cancer” to “donating a dollar to end world hunger/human trafficking/insert cause here.”
We all know that it isn’t that simple if we think about very much. A small donation changes little except appeasing our guilt for too many late night chili cheese burritos. Even if we had the massive amounts of money needed to solve these issues, it isn’t just a money issue. Instead we know that the brokenness of our world is not repairable in our life.
I suppose that is the sort of thing that you learn when you are engaged with the world’s need the way that my friend is.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that we don’t need to do those small things. I’m glad she dropped a buck to end world hunger. I hope you will too. I still don’t think our dollar makes much of a difference. I’m sure that there are those who will defend those tiny gifts. No problem. I’m not interested in changing your mind.
But our Christian witness is best put on display when we make real sacrifices, live with simplicity, and live out the justice of God’s coming Kingdom. We need a Christian community that lives the Kingdom life radically–not because we will end hunger or homelessness or cancer–but because we need someone to show us what God is like. No one sees another person drop a buck in the jar on the counter and thinks: “That is what Jesus is like.”
Where are some places that you have seen the Kingdom put on display? Who is showing you what God is like?
Zak Mitiche says
I think the best thing we can do for (insert cause here) is to enact the divine morality in our very being, to reflect that in every action and thought. I wonder how we come to get angry (referencing article ‘Why the World needs 66 million Christians to Get Angry’) in our plastic bubble lives unless we have had some personal connection to the cause we might eventually take up- why should I devote 26 years of my life to human trafficking and not homelessness?
That’s a great question Zak. I argue that God places passion (love and anger) within us for those places that God is calling us. While God calls us to work for justice generally, all of us have greater desire for some issues than others. The ones that most stir you are God’s call.
What Am I Called to Do? (Part 4): It’s All About Passion | Rev. Jeremiah Gibbs
But you are right, we have to “catch” these passions or learn them. Sometimes God uses someone else or even our life experiences to stir those passions.