When I lived in Evansville, I was never put into a situation where I actually saw people in need of much more than maybe some gas money or a ride to the store. So, when Auni and I moved to South Bend, I was not ready for what I have come in contact with directly or indirectly.
One evening, we went to The Chocolate Cafe, a coffeehouse a few blocks from our apartment. Sitting outside on a bench was a man who was mumbling to himself and shouting really loud and just acting very strange. It made us uncomfortable. We got inside, and I glanced out the window while my wife used the restroom and I saw him light up what appeared to be a crack pipe. What do you do?
Tonight, we went to a park right down the street from us and we were frustrated to see that someone had taken all but two of the swings and looped them over the bar so that they couldn’t be used. My wife decided to be the one to fix it and so she did as best she could (one swing is still a bit of a mess because of how badly it was stuck). I walked around a little bit while she did this to make sure there wasn’t anyone hanging around or anything. There is a little picnic shelter behind the swing set and , laying on the steps leading up to the men’s restroom, I found some boxes laid out like a bed. They were the length, thereabouts, of a twin sized mattress. And, to the left of that, on the ground, was what looked and smelled like human feces. What do you do?
When you are thrust into a situation where you are faced with things that you have never truly experienced in real life, what do you do?
I know that sometimes there is nothing that we can do. Like in the two situations I described above. But, sometimes, there is something we can do. In fact, I am willing to say that there is always something that we can do. We can make sure that it never happens again.
I want to be the kind of person who takes what he believes seriously. I know that most of you, my readers, want to as well. But, and this must sink in, we cannot do it alone. We must gather together and change things as a community of believers. The whole “Lone Ranger Christian” thing doesn’t work. It can’t work. In fact, I am willing to go so far as to say that if you are unwilling to work with other believers to accomplish the goals of the kingdom than your relation with God is questionable.
No genuine follower of Jesus wants to enjoy Jesus alone. That is not the kind of Jesus who exists. He cannot be enjoyed alone. He lived and died to be “a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).
(John Piper. What Jesus Demands from the World. Wheaton, IL: Crossway. 2006. 282)
I plan to do something about these things that I have been seeing recently. There are other believers in my apartment building, as well as some non-Christians who are socially aware, and the church that we have been attending is getting involved in some of these very issues as well. I am going to make a difference.
So when you see something and you don’t know what to do, find other people interested in the same thing and brainstorm a way to make a difference. It’s time to work together and change the world.