I love my generation.
I really do.
There’s not doubt we are part of an exciting time. Technology does things our parents only saw in the movies. We have been the first generation to grow up with things like social media, cellphones and the world wide web. My generation helped start organizations like kickstarter which let’s people give money to projects they want to see become a reality. A few of us founded some world changing charities, some have become pastors to usher in the next generation of the Church and others still are on the cutting edge of medical health and sciences.
And there’s always a but.
What about the majority of us?
Let’s face it, every generation has their few stars who rise to the top and do amazing things. But what about the rest of us? . What are we supposed to do? Or maybe a better question to ask is are we fooling ourselves?
You see I know the my generation is aware of the world’s problems. I know if I ask my friends the question ‘what is wrong with the world’ that they can give me answers. But what are we doing about it?
You know what I think we are doing about it?
We are “liking” it on facebook and patting ourselves on the back for it. We dump water on our head, put a big red X on our wrist, we like pages for certain causes and we make sure we tell everyone on our social media accounts that today is national “insert major cause here” day.
But is this helping?
I suppose on a pure awareness level that doing things like that helps to raise “awareness” of that issue. But if it stops there, then we’ve really missed the mark especially when the Jesus we follow lived a life of hands on ministry.
You see for the all the good my generation has done, I see one glaring flaw.
Now humans are in general selfish there’s no doubt about it but thanks to a materialistic culture in thought and a prosperous culture in reality my generation has, in many ways never had it easier, and still demands to do things our way with very little room to listen to the generations who have come before us.
We’ve fled the church by the hundreds of thousands
We think we know it all and when we disagreed, we took the easy way out and left our faith institutions instead of doing our best to work together to be co-workers in the Kingdom of God
We’ve decried the faith of our fathers for not being authentic enough while making our own faith up by only taking parts of the Bible we’ve deemed radical and organic. We’ve tossed the baby out with the bathwater.
And I’m one of them. I’ve made these mistakes. I left the Church angry and frustrated. Many times my reasons were valid but my reactions we were anything but.
Jesus prays to the Father that we are one Church and I’m afraid to admit that at times, I’ve contributed to the very thing that frustrated me. Division and drawing lines in the sand that hinder the spread of the Gospel, not grow it.
For my generation to start changing our cultures, we need to be proactive participants and not annoying bystanders. What good is it to point out all of the problems with the world if we won’t get in the mud and start working on solutions together?
We can rant on Facebook, we can write blogs about the problems of the world (pun intended) and we can walk around thinking we know better. But if we aren’t willing to actually move and take action then we are nothing but the people we criticized in previous generations.
As long as we keep thinking the world revolves around us and our rights and our wants and our dreams I can assure you we won’t see much change. Jesus tells us that if we want to find our life we must first lose it. James tells us that true religion is to look after the widow and the orphan (AKA – Not looking after yourself). The disciples gave up their entire lives so the gospel would be spread to the ends of the earth. Many of them lost their lives because of it but Paul counted it joy because unlike our self-centered culture, Paul knew that what mattered wasn’t what he did for himself, but the impact he made on people around him to spread the good news of the gospel.
We (millennials) might have these grandiose thoughts about how to change the world but if we don’t put the work in to make those ideas a reality then they are useless to everyone except ourselves. We trick ourselves into thinking that if we are aware of an issue and we stand against it in our hearts then we’ve done our moral Christian duty by publicly saying “I’m against this!” or “I’m for that”. I promise your words although well intended do very little to change the status quo,
When it comes to our faith the words we say are only the beginning. If there is no tangible actions behind our words than our faith is pretty much useless as James tells us.
So where do you start? When faced with the world’s problems it can get pretty overwhelming pretty fast. Start with little things in your life that you can do to start changing things you know that are harmful to yourself, other people, or the environment.
My girlfriend recently has decided to cut back on her use of disposable items such as plast silverware, straws, cups plates and bags. She decided that she didn’t want to add to the problem of throwing away items that the earth can’t break down and reuse. A simple lifestyle change that over time will help to reduce the amount of waste we bury underground.
You want to help the generation coming up behind you? Then find a place you can volunteer to start being a role model
You want to feed the homeless? Then volunteer at a shelter and be the hands and feet of Jesus
You want to fight Human Trafficking? Then get in touch with an organization and see how you can help.
Don’t just dump water on your head, don’t just draw a big red X and throw in on social media so people can admire your good work. Get in the dirt with us and start impacting people.