I am 53 years old and have never seen days such as these. Pick your headline: Covid-19, social distancing, police brutality, race riots, the Confederate Flag, Civil War monuments, polarizing politicians, etc., etc., etc. I recently talked with one man who said, “I don’t watch the news anymore, not any of it. I just turned it all off.” I have to admit that his approach would have its benefits.
Living in such a time makes attempting to make a difference for Jesus even more complicated than it already is. How can we, as Christians, be “salt” and “light” to a world that seems determined to remain saltless and dark? How can we do our part to promote justice when injustice seems inherently built into every situation we encounter? How can we let our voices be heard when all they would do is add to the deafening din of noise that has been created by everybody’s voice already being heard?
Some Christians are posting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Others are taking to the streets to join protest marches. Others don’t really know what to do and so they are just spending more time in prayer. The whole situation has reminded me of a quote that I picked up somewhere along the way from John Stott, the noted theologian who died a few years ago. He wrote:
People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway.
If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Do good anyway.
If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies. Succeed anyway.
The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable. Be honest and frank anyway.
The biggest men with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men with the smallest minds. Think big anyway.
People favor underdogs, but follow only top dogs. Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight. Build anyway.
People really need help, but may attack you if you do help them. Help them anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and you’ll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you have anyway.
Stott’s point was that serving Christ in this fallen world can oftentimes get downright messy. That’s why logic and common sense might tell us, “Don’t do it.” And God help you if you are a Christian who demands to see worldly rewards from your acts of service. Good luck with that.
Still, though, this world does need loving. It does need good done in it and to it. It does need help. As the old saying says to Christians, we are the only Jesus that some people will ever see. Or if you prefer, another old saying implores Christians to be Christ’s hands, feet, and voice today. Both sayings carry the same meaning: Christ’s followers bear the awesome responsibility of continuing His ministry today. So, Christian, stay on your knees in prayer asking the Lord to show you how to play your role in that, and then get up off your knees and go out and do whatever it is He tells you to do.