What A Mess

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For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Romans 12:3-8

Insight

I don’t believe in reincarnation, but if I did, I would assume that Tucker, our ninety-pound Labradoodle, was a famous magician in a previous life. He’s older now with achy bones, but back in the day, he was that talented of an escape artist. If you left the door cracked just a little bit or didn't close it soon enough, he was guaranteed to bolt. The boy loved to run free.

A few years back Tucker went straight William Wallace in Braveheart and was all like, “You can try to put a collar on me, but you can’t take my freedom!” He escaped through a weak portion in our fence and began to wreak havoc on our neighborhood. Oh, did I forget to mention it was also torrentially down pouring that day? For close to thirty minutes, we chased him down streets and back alleys, creeks, and woods.

Eventually, we got a hold of him, but he was a complete wreck. Tucker was soaking wet and covered from head to tail in dark mud. His hair was all matted with leaves, debris, and thorns. I took one look at him and was overwhelmed. How do I clean this hot mess of a dog up?

The emotions I was feeling when confronted with the work in front of me is very similar to how I respond to encountering the brokenness of this world. Where do I even begin? Everywhere I turn I see a mess: poverty, divorce, political disunity, racism, social injustice, suicide, hunger, loss, etc. All these issues demand my attention. I know I SHOULD care about these things (and deep down inside I do), but it seems hopeless.

This leads me to feelings of shame, guilt, and discontentment. Because I can’t do it all, I often resort to inactivity and being overwhelmed with the futility of it all. I don’t think I’m alone with this struggle. Deep down inside each one of us has a desire to make a difference, to leave an impact and bring a bit of redemption, hope, and change to this mad world.

But, here’s the thing: God isn’t asking you (or me) to solve all the world’s problems; He is calling you to simply own your part of the puzzle. This is what makes the body of Christ so beautiful. Each part is vital to our overall impact. God has equipped each one of us differently. We all have varied interests and passions.

So, how do we figure out our part? We find it by staying connected to Christ, being others-focused and praying for eyes to see the needs around us. We start somewhere, remain curious and pray hard. We do something about one thing rather than nothing about everything. Articulation and insight on how we can influence others come when we allow the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us.

Reflection

  • How would you describe the part you play in bringing Christ’s love to the mad world around you?

  • Would you say you are owning your part? Why or why not? What makes you answer in the way that you do?

Prayer

God, it’s easy for me to lose faith when I come face-to-face with the brokenness around me. It paralyzes me. It makes me feel ill-equipped and helpless. Yet, instead of trying to put it all on my shoulders, open my eyes to how and where You want me to respond. Help me to own my part. Ignite my heart in this area so I can humbly serve You and make a difference for Your Kingdom. In Your name, Jesus. Amen. 


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