My family traveled a lot, often in developing countries, when I was younger. My little sister would cry when we saw children begging on the street. I thought she was crazy. I couldn’t understand why she felt so emotional about people we didn't know. I believed we were doing all we could and that it was someone else’s responsibility to end systematic poverty. I did believe that we had to care for the poor. My parents were diligent in teaching us to give. We volunteered our time and money as a family. My parents made me give a third of my babysitting money to the church and advocated for the church to spend money on missions. Caring for the less fortunate was a lesson my parents hammered into our heads. I even believed in fighting for my own causes. As a kid, I made friendship bracelets to raise money to free a dolphin at an amusement park. I also started an environmental club and got my friends to join me. But I didn’t get upset when we passed beggar after beggar held captive by poverty because I honestly believed I couldn’t do anything about the state of the world. It needed a superhero. I was not a superhero. I was an average person. It shocked me in college when I began learning about the characters of the bible. God used ordinary people to do extraordinary things. He even used people that were less than ordinary, people that were so sinful, so full of bad decisions, that they probably would not be welcome into the current church today. As I learned about the stories of Moses, Esther, David, Ruth and Jeremiah – imperfect individuals, who had insecurities and shortcomings – to do extraordinary things, I began to doubt whether God needed a superhero to change the world. If he used ordinary people, then he might want to use me. Seeing homeless people didn’t distress me because I believed that poverty was someone else’s responsibility. But according to Paul, God made us so that we could do good works. God is intimately aware that our world has fallen short of his original design. He sees the racism that plagues our, and it breaks his heart. God knows about the chains that poverty creates and God weeps. God watches the violence that is committed against his daughters, and he wants to change the system so that justice will roll down like waves. God’s solution: create humans to do his good works, so that his kingdom can come. God sees that his people are imperfect, messy and sinful. But he wants to work through us to change the world. God is aware of how much we fall short of his glory. His heart breaks when his people choose to follow other gods repeatedly. Like an adulterous spouse, we continually break God’s heart with our sin. And yet, we humans are what he chooses to use. God doesn’t ignore our shortcomings but instead addresses them through his son’s death. As Jesus raises us up with him, he transformed us. He made us able to be God’s hands and feet on earth. And as people, not only can we bring peace, joy and hope to this world, we have a responsibility to love one another. As an instrument of God, I’m called to not only see where this world falls short of God’s kingdom but to also tireless work towards bringing God’s kingdom here. That realization changed the way I saw following God. I could no longer see poverty and not weep. Instead, God called me to weep and work tirelessly to bring about a change to systematic poverty. I could no longer see racism, without speaking out against it. Paul’s words demand that I have to act. To be a part of bringing God’s will here.
How has God called you to act?