A coffee farmer in Mexico is undeniably what the economic majority would define as poor. A Nike factory worker is silenced in fear of the consequences of talking about actual working conditions in Pakistan. Unethical child labor still exists, brimming the hats of even the largest multi-conglomerates.
I’ve been praying and hoping from my heart of hearts for a new kind of worldview. One that escapes the gravity of the densest gated community. One that thrives on selflessness and finds worth in good deeds done with a heart of love and compassion for the good of the global village. I sense this notion rising, becoming ever-present on the minds of the young philosopher. The idea of a multi-national, giving economy; not based on pretension or trends or bombastic idealism, but on the pureness of the heart that is renewed through the Love of Christ Jesus.
It used to be that few would see the world but for adventurers and voyagers, the richest and most respected handful, a prime selection of hierarchical nasal thrusters–the elite. But now it is much more common for people of a widening arc of humanity to be traveling the globe, seeing and learning much more than was available to generations past. In the past 100 years technologies have exploded. The race is on. The tower of Babel of the 21st century is being organized and will soon be built.
Synergy, convergence, globalization. Three words that seem to carry the weight of what is to become known as the greatest focus of intelligence, and manpower in our lifetime. The long-anticipated era of the individual is almost at its end. The last gasping breaths of the MySpace generation are drowning under the mounting cries for justice as the global population finds its voice. It’s as if we’ve catapulted ourselves into the future and are just now catching the radio waves of a distant civilization under siege. The youth of today are rising. Activists are becoming active citizens. The word “action” has received a defibrillator charge to the heart, challenging many teens and young adults to abandon the capitalistic mirage set out by their fathers and march out into the front ranks of change.
We are learning as a culture that anyone at all can make a difference. Amos 5:23-24 pleads with us, the estranged Israelites, to abandon the flashiness of showy event-culture Christianity when the focus stops being on the heart of the worship, and starts being more concerned with really nailing that three guitar breakdown. Instead, He says “I want to see a mighty flood of justice, a river of righteous living that will never run dry.” This kind of statement almost seems to launch itself into the realm of modernity with the fury of a punk rock anthem. But the passion doesn’t die with the poor judgment of which record label to sign to in this case. The terminology, while poetic, is hardly cryptic.
“Rivers of righteousness that will never run dry” paints a portrait of lives that are consistently, progressively, unceasingly unstoppable in its dedication to fighting for what is right. No more compromising defeat. No more ignoring the needs of the nations. No more exclusivity disguised as expertise. No more apathy. Let your passion be the propulsion that drives you to living out the life that Jesus came to prepare us for.
Passion is huge. We should consider passion to be the steam that drives the engine that is our mobility for serving as anything in this world. You could have an amazing passion to spend the rest of your life picking blueberries on a hillside in Alabama. If you invest enough into that passion, it is almost undebatable that you will someday achieve your goal. On the other hand, investing nothing into this passion will leave you with cold desire, and no blueberries. If people will rise up with a passion for serving God and to see His goodness spread throughout the earth, and will invest enough into that passion diligently, then there is no reason not to believe they will see that passion be revealed.
Changing the world around you doesn’t necessarily have to start in changing the world abroad. If God has given you a passion for sharing His love with people, there is no formula that insists you make a missions trip to a distant sea board. Perhaps we’ve become too hyper-critical of ourselves to reach out to our own community. Too many times we compare ourselves with those who are receiving national or international acclaim or recognition for their achievements. The celebrity-style spotlight often leaves us feeling inadequate or inefficient in our own efforts to serve God. Instead, we should funnel the inspiration that comes from that attention into our own hearts and what God is doing through us to change the world around us.
In the first paragraph I wrote about the injustices of different types of consumer-related business. How in some cases small kids are working for pennies to make goods that will resell for hundreds of percents of their production value in markup to 1st world consumer societies. But something that is interesting about this paradox is that the number one factor in pricing products is the amount the consumer is willing to pay. In other words, the product on the shelf is only as valuable as you’re willing it to be. You have the power to change the effectiveness of inflation by simply refusing to pay. The power is in your hands. The decision is yours to make. Will you be a trickle in the desert? Or a mighty flood of justice?