All of this Invisible Children, Visible Children, KONY 2012, they’re wrong, you’re wrong stuff makes my head hurt.
Not because I’m disappointed. Who am I to decide what’s black and what’s white in this very gray-looking conversation? I don’t know enough. About charity work or about Africa or about politics. I am overwhelmed even by the shallow end of these discussions.
I like what my friend Brad said about awareness and action, about how awareness is not action and how sometimes in raising awareness we feel like we’ve taken action.
But that’s not what gives me the headache… The reason I get overwhelmed by arguments about how best to provide for Africa is the same reason I get overwhelmed by all kinds of other world tragedies—people affected by genocide, sex trafficking, poverty, natural disaster, the threat of nuclear war, drug cartels.
The world is broken. I don’t know how to fix it. And I really want to fix it. But I can’t.
I am not God.
I have to get my head around this: God is savior. He will redeem His broken world. And when I start obsessing over how if I don’t do something to get clean water to some family in Guatemala, they will die of thirst or disease, I need a reality check.
God is saving His people. He will work through me or without me. I am not as important as I think I am.
I can find peace in that. Sweet, sweet peace. Not an excuse to do nothing, but a balm for the pain I feel when I realize I simply cannot do everything.
Now, while I am not God, I am God, in a very small way. I am a carrier of God’s Spirit, a member in the body of Christ. He will change the world through me and millions of others like me. I do need to restore this world—to, alongside others, call it back to the beautiful thing it once was.
I cannot fix it all, but I can, in Him, fix a piece.
But what piece? With all the problems, all the hurting people, all the blood and tears, where should I start?
Perhaps it’s best to start with what I understand, with what’s close to me.
I like the words from Ecclesiastes “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
Today I heard Beth Moore saying that while she donates to charities and prays for disaster victims around the world, she feels most convicted to serve where she is, to help the orphans and widows and victims of oppression who stumble into her life.
For me, that looks like financially and emotionally supporting my friends and family serving as full-time missionaries in China, Ireland, and Croatia. It looks like moving into a mixed income neighborhood and investing in my neighbors. It looks like bringing food and drawings by my little girls to the widows at my church. It looks like getting involved in a friend’s super-awesome non-profit.
Sure, I contribute to a charity every so often—I give regularly to three because I think they’re wonderful—but those charities are not the biggest way I’m healing God’s broken world.
If clean water or bringing down Joseph Kony are close to your heart, by all means devote yourself to the cause. But really devote yourself to it. Dig in. Make sacrifices. Get uncomfortable.
I bring up Ecclesiastes because I think it gets at a way of doing what’s closest: “Do what your hand finds to do.” We don’t need to reach far to find something. And when we find it, we shouldn’t just change our twitter pic, we should “do it with all [our] might.”