What have you been doing?

What have you done lately?

No, I'm not talking about getting the latest technotoy or buying a new car. Nothing like that.

What have you done lately that matters? What have you done that changes the world, helps others, and lives on after you?

Anything?

One of the saddest things I ever read was from the Greek philosopher Aristotle: "The masses choose the lives of grazing animals." Utter insignificance. Profoundly disheartening, and the most depressing part: "choose." People choose insignificance.

So what have you done that isn't centered on yourself? That makes a difference in another life? That makes the world better? Anything significant?

What have you done that isn't the choice of a grazing animal, a sheep?

Are you pleased with the legacy you will leave? Are you happy with what someone will write about you after you are gone? "He had fun" isn't so great, you know.

Does the thought of standing to give an account before God scare you?

God has called us to himself, to be his, to represent him in the world. It's an honor high beyond our imagining. He has called us -- his own -- to be an essential part of redeeming the world that is his and was stolen away.

But we'd rather play games. Little kids' games. And we pretend they're real life.

We live in a little, fake, cartoony world, a world of our own devising. And we try to convince ourselves that, man, this is really living! We've got a good thing going!

But it isn't. And we don't. And deep inside, we know it. Deep inside, we know that there has to be more. Our pain and our tears have to mean something.

We want to be more than sheep. It just can't be we live, we die, and nobody cares.

So what are you doing that matters?

Thousands of children die of starvation every day. Every day, while the western world becomes a place of obese, self-indulgent brats. What are you doing about it?

Millions of people live on the edge of disaster, one failed harvest away from starvation. Millions more have no clean water to drink. How would you do, drinking water from polluted rivers, lakes and ponds? They don't do well, either. They get sick. They die young.

What are you doing about it? They are people just like you, you know. They are your brothers and sisters.

If you were born anywhere on earth as a "person of color," your chance for quality education and a quality life are far less. Even in America. No fault of your own. Just because of where you were born. Or the color of your skin. You could look forward to bad schools if you had schools at all, and a bigger chance of dying young than going to college. This is simply wrong, and our hearts should break from it.

What are you doing about it?

These are huge problems of injustice. But many of them are solvable. I can't solve them and you can't, either. But we certainly can. And if they are solvable, we have a moral responsibility to do something about them. But we can't do it living selfish lives.

So what are we going to do? Nothing?

One day, we will all stand before God. "Give an account." For some of us, that will be a very bad day.

According to the Bible, we were created to do good works. Works God planned for us in advance.

What are we going to do about it?

*****

Tutor school children • volunteer in a literacy program • volunteer at a hospital • volunteer at a nursing home • volunteer to work with AIDS patients • repair houses for those who are unable • deliver meals to elderly shut-ins • adopt orphans via Compassion International and similar organizations • volunteer at a school as a teacher's assistant • mentor a child • give money to organizations that are making a difference in solving social problems • volunteer at a homeless shelter • join an organization assisting refugees • help buy medical supplies for disadvantaged people • stop living as if the world revolved around you and your whims • invest your life in something bigger than you.

2 Comments

Hi Larry,
I'm a 16 year old guy. I've been struggling with
what I will be doing with my life and what
legacy I will be leaving. It bothers me all the
time. I dont know where to begin or where to
start to do something that is going to effect
lives. I know all I can do is pray that God
opens a door for me, but what door is going to
open? And will I take it or just let it pass by
without a second thought about it? I want my
life to be in line with what God wants it to be.
I don't just want to go through the motions of
life, I want more. I want to be everything God
created me to be. I pray that God molds me into
His image, so that myself and others ultimately
see God through my life. I hope that is my
legacy, that I did everything God wants and that
when I'm finally home, He says job well done.

Hi Jeremy,

Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think there are two fundamental steps to making a difference and doing something that will last forever. The first, though not so much "doing," is to grow into an intimate friendship with the true God, the God who speaks. Your relationship with him is the foundation for a fruitful life in God's kingdom. The second is to ask God to make you aware of those places whee you can be an agent of his grace, touching another life in the name of Jesus.

What might it look like when God is using you? Well, in my own life, I find myself fixing cars for folks, fixing computers for them, tutoring students, taking people to medical appointments, inviting friends who have less to our house for parties and cookouts, and more. Jesus touched people first by meeting the fundamental needs of their lives. We can do the same. And eventually, as relationships are built, a conversation happens. And it's about Jesus.

Leave a comment












Loading tweets:

Follow us on Twitter!

  • Larry Baden said:
      Hi Jeremy, Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I think there are two ...
  • Jeremy Dickens said:
      Hi Larry, I'm a 16 year old guy. I've been struggling with what I wil...

home quodlibet journal theo blog sermons theology e-texts church history forum home