As we have suffered over the past few weeks through some pretty difficult incidents, there is the recurring question, “What can we do about the way things are?” So here are a few thoughts about this.
- Expect the world to be the world. Maybe I’m just getting to be a bit more (too?) realistic in my old age, but I just feel a certain, um, “lack of surprise” when bad things happen. I of course go back to Jesus and passages like Matthew 10 and John 16:33, where Jesus tells us we should expect some suffering and trouble in the world. It doesn’t mean we like it, or that we don’t get upset, or that we don’t try to help and try to make things better. It just means that worldly people are going to act worldly and selfishly. They always have. They always will.
- Demand that the church be the church—do your part. We have spoken in recent lessons and in Shepherd Group discussions about different models of the church. These are aspects of the church’s identity, mission and ministry that should be seen to some extent in the life and work of God’s people everywhere. Things like serving others; worshiping together; encouraging fellow believers; sharing the gospel; etc. While we may have certain expectations of our local, state and federal governments, we should not expect them to do the church’s work. We are God’s presence in the world, and must continue to be that presence.
- Take part in good works whenever you can. There are so very many opportunities to help in our communities! Our recent blood drive is an example—thanks Peggy Vance and all who donated and helped! We have food pantries, the Soup Kitchen, Ronald McDonald House, and other ministries, social service agencies, and works that we can be involved in and help. Area schools, hospitals, and so many other institutions depend heavily on volunteers to do their work, and even more so now in times when budgets must be cut. Pitch in where you can!!
- Time, money and other resources make a difference and have an impact. You might be able to volunteer, or participate in a ministry. Or you might be able to donate money to make it possible for others to do so. (Romans 10:14-15) Our Leslie Dunbar will be a part of Team Imagine in Ukraine this summer, as they will be the presence of Christ and have an impact on hundreds of children and adults at Camp Dzerzhinets. You can be a part of this great work by donating money toward her expenses. I believe she is still about $1000 short of her goal. You can make a check out to South Fork Church of Christ and put Leslie Dunbar or Team Imagine in the memo. Having been a part of this trip three different times, I can tell you that few things I’ve been associated with in my life have been as effective in bringing the love and Word of God to people as this ministry. And hardly anything I can think of has the potential to make a difference in the lives of children, adults, public schools, and yes, even an entire nation, that this work has. Pray. Never, never, never underestimate the need for and power of your prayers. To do so is to underestimate the power of our God.
- Be confident. Satan’s greatest moment—the cross—became God’s greatest moment. It’s the same today!