Three Ways Busy People Can Change the World
Three Ways Busy People Can Change the World
When we first planted Harbor Church, we could only find space available on Sunday nights, so that’s when we did our church services. We decided to play up the fact that we were the only church in East Oahu that met in the evenings, so we sent out a postcard advertising the church. The headline was: “Sleepyheads, Rejoice.” In other words, you can sleep in on Sunday mornings, and still go to church! Awesome!
People started showing up from that postcard. They started to learn about Jesus. They started to give their hearts to Jesus. And we were stoked, until we tried to get them to do things for Jesus. “Hey, come to small-group on Wednesday night!” … Nope. … “Hey, we need some help with the keiki ministry!” … Sorry. … “Hey, somebody needs a ride to the hospital this week” … Busy. … That’s when we realized we had the laziest church on planet earth, and the worst part was, that’s exactly what we designed it to be!
With that postcard, here’s what we were basically saying to people: “Go ahead and do what you want all weekend. Party as late as you want on Saturday night, and sleep in as late as you want on Sunday morning. And then on Sunday night, if you can squeeze it in, maybe you can find time for Jesus.” That’s the message we were (subconsciously) preaching, but the message of the New Testament is that if you really understand how God gave everything for you, you’ll just naturally want to give everything for him. You’ll want to grow, and give, and serve, and bless.
As Paul says in Romans 12:1, “In light of the mercies of God … present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” In other words, “Considering all that God has already given you, ask yourself what can you give to him and to the people around you.”
Praise God, we eventually figured that out in our church, and we now have a mob of grace-fueled folks who are growing, serving, giving, and blessing all the time. But here’s the question: how do we know we’re serving in the right way? How do we know we’re giving effectively? How do we know we’re really blessing the world, not just spinning our wheels? Paul gives us some ideas in Galatians 6:10: “As we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
How can already-busy people make real change in the world? Three ways, according to Paul:
1. Look for opportunities to serve.
As Paul says, “As we have opportunity, let us do good.” Here’s the thing: there are always opportunities to do good. In Ephesian 2, after Paul says we can’t be saved by your good works, he turns around and he says, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
In other words, God’s laid out a path of good works for you to walk along. He’s got them lined up for you every day. You just need to follow the path. When you go to work tomorrow, there will be an opportunity to serve. When you come home, there will be an opportunity to serve. When you go to church next Sunday, there will be an opportunity to serve.
God’s laid out this path of good works. It’s all ready for you! You just need to look for the opportunities God’s put right in front of you. But if you want to be really effective, you need to get a little more specific in what kind of opportunities you’re looking for:
2. Look for people to serve.
Don’t just do good things. Do good things that will bless real people in tangible ways.
Now, sometimes there will be opportunities to do good that don’t seem like they’re about people. We have a setup crew who sets up our church every Saturday morning. They’ve got their heads down moving chairs, setting up tables, putting out mic
stands, laying cables. But their job isn’t really about chairs and tables and mic stands. Their job is about people. They’re creating an atmosphere for people to worship. They’re creating a space for people to hear the gospel.
If you want to change the world, it’s not about projects, it’s about people. But it gets even more specific than that. We need to look for opportunities to serve all people, but Paul says we also need to focus on a particular group of people.
3. Look for a church to serve.
As Paul says, “Let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” When we’re doing good, the local church needs to be the primary context. Why? Because it’s our primary family. It’s our household of faith. It’s where our brothers and sisters are.
The Bible says the church is the body we’re all members of. The church is the place where Jesus is the head. The church is the place where the Spirit dwells. There are lots of great opportunities for us to serve in nonprofit organizations and parachurch organizations. We should take those opportunities! But we also need to remember that Jesus never promised to be the head of any other organization. The Spirit never promised to dwell in any other agency. Only in the church.
When we’re serving in the context of the local church, that’s where we’ll be most connected to Jesus. That’s where we’ll be most empowered by the Spirit. And ultimately, the church is what will change the world. As Jesus promised, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matt. 16:18).
You want to charge through the gates of hell and reverse the evil, pain, and suffering the enemy has caused? You want to change the world? Look for opportunities to serve real people across the islands and around the world, and do it in the context of your church.