Lent is a season for personal transformation, but it is also a season for us to do all that we can to help change our world. In my church, one of the ways we do this is by participating in a "Change Our World" love offering. Jars are placed throughout the church in which we can place our "change," (along with folding money and checks). All of the proceeds go to help various mission projects supported by the church. But in addition to giving, there are many ways we can be at work to help bring about change in our world...
Obviously giving to various missions projects is one way we can help change our world. But K. S. Latourette has further identified six weapons Christians can use to help change our world:
1. Prayer. the Bible says, in Ephesians 3:20: "God is able to do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work in us." Often times we fail to realize what a powerful tool for change we have through the discipline of prayer. As we look around our world today we find that there are indeed many concerns for which we need to be in prayer.
2. Evangelism: As individual lives are changed through the power of Christ, so are marriages changed, families are changed, communities and work places are changed. We need not be slack in our efforts to share the Good News with others. A powerful way we help change our world by winning others to Christ.
3. Example: As others see the way we: handle difficult times, treat members of our family and others in the community, give to serve the needs of others (the list goes on and on) they can be influenced by our example. Through our example of holy living and good works, other's lives can be changed too.
4. Argument: Paul argued daily with the religious leaders of Athens. (See Acts 17.). Peter says we must always be ready to make a "defense of our faith." In 1 Peter 3:15 he says, "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." He then reminds us: "But do this with gentleness and respect." We should be ever ready to make a defense of our faith.
5. Action: Many will not "care to know" (about the faith we share) until they "know that we care." Love, faith, and good works always go "hand in hand." Throughout the centuries Christians have been known by a Faith that is put to work in practical ways.
6. Suffering: Peter says, "those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." Sometimes it is through our suffering that others see the genuineness of our faith. Sometimes through our suffering others are encouraged to endure hardship as well.
There are probably other ways, but during this Lenten season the practice of these spiritual disciplines can be a powerful ways in which we can help Change our World.
Dr. Allen Schneider is a United Methodist pastor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist presently serving the Sapulpa and greater Tulsa communities.