Sunday, January 15, 2012

Relax. You Are Not Responsible for Changing the World

Perhaps I'm the only one with this problem. I read books and listen to sermons admonishing me to change the world...and I feel stress, anxiety, and guilt.

I look at the problems of the world:

*AIDS, war, and famine ravaging Africa
*140 million orphans in the world
*Millions of women enslaved in sex trafficking across the globe
*A billion people without knowledge of the true Christ throughout Islamic dominated societies
*Over 1 million abortions performed in America alone each year
*Inner-city poverty and crime

The list could go on and on, but the effect would be the same. I know that the problems are too big for me. I can't end any of them.

However, the good news for ordinary Christians like me is this: I'm not responsible for changing the world. I'm responsible for pursuing good, but I'm not responsible for the results.

The apostle Paul wrote, "The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. These things are excellent and profitable for people" (Titus 3:8). As a believer in God, I want to do good in every way possible. I want to help people in poverty, women who are considering an abortion, children who need parents, and everyone in need of knowing Jesus. I want to be devoted such good works.

But I also want to acknowledge my limitations. I can pursue good in every possible way for all the right reasons, but I'm not responsible for my effectiveness. The apostle Paul recognized this fact when writing about the effectiveness of his ministry (along with the ministry of Apollos). He wrote, "What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth" (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). I am responsible for pursuing good works, but God is responsible for the results.

If I can keep that in mind, I can accept the next challenge to change the world without slipping into despair. I'm not going to change the world, but I can do my part and let God work through me.


Rick Morgan said...

It's all summed up in the golden rule: Love your neighbor.

Exert your influence in your part of the world and leave the results to God.

Terry Laudett said...

Thank you, Rick. That's exactly what I was trying to say.

Isaac Morton said...

Amen! We are not fully called to change the world, but our faith should make a difference to those around us. ~isaac

Terry Laudett said...

Thanks, Isaac. You made an excellent point. Our faith should make the most difference in the lives of those who are around us.