For those who don’t know, this summer I did mission work in Ensenada, Mexico with YWAM Montana’s Summer Programs. Halfway through our time in Ensenada, our team had a meeting to discuss how outreach was going. Most of us expressed disappointments about outreach thus far: no one was healed, and no one was saved. We talked about our disappointments for a while, until someone spoke up, “Have you guys actually talked about Jesus with anyone, shared your testimony with them, or even prayed for someone to be healed?” At first we were thinking, duh! this is outreach we have been doing ministry everyday! Then we (or at least me) started thinking about what he said, had we been sharing the gospel and our testimonies with people? had we prayed for salvation and for healing with people?
Our answer was a shocking and unanimous, No.
The same guy spoke up again, “well you might want to actually do those things that you want to see happen. Otherwise, nothing will change.”
This conversation sparked a change within our group. The next day our group lead a church service in the city, and we prayed with people, shared our testimonies, and prayed for healing., Two people were healed that night! Our team saw God move and perform miracles BECAUSE we asked him to. God was perfectly capable of healing those people without us, but he chose to let us be part of accomplishing his work.
A miracle happened because we stepped out of our comfort zones and asked God for healing.
If you don’t do something, even if you really want it to happen, even if you think it is someone else’s job, even if you plan for it to happen, even if you tell everyone it is going to happen, if you don’t actually do something, nothing is going to change.
When I log onto my Facebook account, I see numerous articles shared about injustices in the world (most recently, Syrian refugees) that call people to action and change; however, by sharing or reading articles, you are not actually helping them (shocking right!). Yes, you may raise awareness and change society’s perception of the situation, but no matter how much something is shared or how many minds are changed, it does not impact how many people are being helped. By sharing articles you are not actually helping anyone.
If you want to see something done vote, teach, volunteer, or donate–these are actions that actually make an impact.
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference” Elie Wiesel
In Psychology 101 we learned about evasion (lack of action). Generally, if you are going to be attacked or assaulted in public, you would want it to be in a crowded area so you have a greater likelihood to be helped. WRONG! According to statistics and countless studies, victims only have a ten percent chance of being helped in a crowded area, compared to an eighty percent chance of being helped in an area with less than five people. Shocking isn’t it? There are two psychological terms for this phenomenon: bystander effect and diffusion of responsibility. Basically, everyone thinks that everyone else is going to help, meaning that they do not have to do anything.
How many times have you said, “It’s not my responsibility,” when you saw suffering and injustice?
We think others are more skilled and more qualified than us, so we should not be the ones to help. Problem is, everyone thinks like that and if no one helps, the person in need never receives assistance.
This applies to any situation: adopting, teaching children morals, fighting injustices…or in Christian life: evangelism. Many think they are not qualified enough to effectively witness and evangelize, BUT if no one does, millions may never hear about the good news of Jesus.
Bottom line–if no one does anything NOTHING will get done. NO change will happen.
C.S. Lewis has a thought provoking quote on this:
“In the book The Screwtape Letters, by C. S. Lewis, a devil briefs his demon nephew, Wormwood, in a series of letters on the subtleties and techniques of tempting people. In his writings, the devil says that the objective is not to make people wicked but to make them indifferent. This higher devil cautions Wormwood that he must keep the patient comfortable at all costs. If he should start thinking about anything of importance, encourage him to think about his luncheon plans and not to worry so much because it could cause indigestion. And then the devil gives this instruction to his nephew: ‘I, the devil, will always see to it that there are bad people. Your job, my dear Wormwood, is to provide me with people who do not care.'”2
I view God’s will being done as surfing. You can either stand by and watch it, or you can hope on surfboard and ride the wave in. You can either see other people doing God’s will, or you can be a part of it.
Do something. Anything!
(Disclaimer: Our team worked very hard running children’s camps, doing street evangelism, performing at bars and the beach, leading church services, painting, assembling bunk beds, and much more. So to say we weren’t making a significant impact there, gives our work severe under justice– we just weren’t seeing the impacts we wanted to. Also, God is sovereign, and uses multiple actions and experiences to plant seeds of growth within people. Yes, we didn’t see an immediate impact and change with everyone, but we taught people about God, and showed God’s unconditional love for them, which plants a seed of hope and growth within them to be fully developed at a later time.)