Waiting on the World to Change
You’ve probably heard John Mayer’s hit song, Waiting on the World to Change. I think we can all agree with these lyrics, “Now we see everything that’s going wrong with the world and those who lead it. We just feel like we don’t have the means to rise above and beat it. So we keep waiting_waiting on the world to change.” We sometimes have this tendency to “wait on the world to change,” but what if we ARE the means to changing the world?  

My church recently started a new series called: Am I the Change? This past week we specifically focused on where to start. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.” 
Value Others Above Yourselves RS
Used Kim Klassen’s Luminous and Believe textures.
You may have heard this same lesson referred to as the Golden Rule (which I learned in Kindergarten): treat others as you would like others to treat you. But let’s be honest…it’s one of those things that we all struggle with on a regular basis because 1) it seems like we don’t all like to be treated the same way and 2) it requires us to develop lives of compassion. Compassion: a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. 

Philippians 2:5-7 says, “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.  

So…in order for us to live lives of compassion, we have to take the lead from Jesus. Consider these verses from Matthew 9:35-37, “Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” The circumstances of Jesus’ time are not far removed from the poverty and illness we see today. Jesus then said to his disciples in Matthew 9:38, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Needless to say, there are a lot more people (harvest is plentiful) in need than there are people (workers to harvest the field) to serve. 

Interestingly enough (and related), I just finished the book, unChristian. If you’re looking for a good read, I definitely recommend it. When I consider those in need, other Christians certainly come to mind. However, more often than not, the people we are really called to serve are not “Christ Followers,” or they are hesitant to accept help for fear of being rejected or judged. Therefore, before we can help…we must 1) have compassion and 2) have a level of mutual respect with those we serve. Here’s a few suggestions I gleamed from the book: 
  1. Listen – talk less and learn to listen better. If we simply listen, we’ll have a better understanding of the needs and backgrounds of the people we’re called to serve. On a more advanced level, we have to be able to read between the lines…people are not always willing to tell us what they need. We have to keep our eyes and hearts open.
  2. Empathize  – we’ve got to stop judging others and start imaging what it must be like to walk a day in their shoes. We must empathize: the ability to recognize, perceive and directly feel the emotion another is feeling. We can often get lost in what a person does or doesn’t do (the way they dress, the language they use, whether or not they attend church)…but, if we want to really meet people’s needs, we have to understand where they’re coming from and meet them where they are. By walking in their shoes, we can better appreciate the circumstances they’re in, better understand the choices that were made as a result of those circumstances, and move forward. “When people perceive they are accepted for who they are, irrespective of what they have done or will do, then they are open to friendship and influence.” – Jud White, Pastor at Centeral Christian Church in Las Vegas.
  3. Recognize Our Own Limitations – I have the most respect for someone who knows what they don’t know…or knows when they should just listen (I mean, God did give us two ears and one mouth…right). We don’t have to pretend to have all the answers, and those in need aren’t necessarily looking for us to know it all.
  4. Be Genuine – as we’re helping others, we have to create trust by being genuine. And in doing so, we don’t always have to incorporate “bible” or “church” talk into every conversation. If we’re living our lives in the way that Jesus taught us, an opportunity to share our story will (eventually) become available…but we can’t force feed it. All talk with no action will fall on deaf ears. 
  5. Finally, we must Be Obedient – while we’re praying for people to serve…we also have to recognize that God is going to use us to meet the needs of his people. We can’t simply wait on others to do their part…we have to carry our own weight along the way. Yes, that goes for me too!
With that said…are you waiting on the world to change or are you the change? There is so much left to be done in cities around the world…where do you fit in?

If you’d like to listen to this past week’s message, click HERE.
By the way, I’m musing today: CLICK HERE. It’s also your last day to enter my second Thank You Giveway which ends tonight!
Giveaway at Ramblings and Photos