Let's take this first important matter that Jesus mentions: justice. How can we move from believing in justice to actually living it out in practice? It requires as to ACT and that involves three things:
Awareness - Ignorance is not bliss. Sticking our head in the sand until the storm blows over is bot meant to be an option for us as Christ followers. Jesus has called us to be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ (Matt.5:12-13) which both involve a proactive positive influence on our world. We now live in a global village and we need to have our eyes andears open to the needs and the cries of those who are hurting (see Prov.31:8-9). Abraham Heschel once said, "The opposite of good is not evil, it is indifference. Indeed, our very humanity depends upon our compassion."
We can do this though simply watching the news, listening to people’s stories, and become involved with ministries that advance the cause of justice such as World Vision, Compassion and our own Everyday Justice ministry. Churches commemorating Abolitionist Sunday is an example of creating awareness.
Jesus saw the multitudes as sheep who were lost and harassed because they had no shepherd … and he then acted, calling his disciples to prayer and sending them out to be the answer to their own prayer. Open your eyes and see the needs in our world. Hear the cries of the poor and oppressed. Feel what God feels.
Choices – Awareness is not enough. It needs to motivate us to action – to make decisions and choices that become an answer to the needs and problems around us. Each day we make choices … and choices have consequences. Prayerfully reflect on what you do with your resources. Carefully consider the purchases you make. Pray for the pressing issues in our world. Act on behalf of those who have no voice.
Engage with your local member of parliament. Don’t just vote once every few years. Politicians are there to represent the citizens of Australia. Let them know what you think. Lobby them on key issues. Both social action and social justice are important. One is like having an ambulance at the bottom of a hill where people are falling off. The other seeks to build a fence at the top of the hill (actually changing systems of injustice) to prevent people falling off.
Time - We all have the same amount of time … we must ensure that we invest it (not waste it) on what matters most. We make time for what is important in our lives. It’s not just chromos time but also kairos time – being fully present in those moments when God may speak to you or prompt you to do something. Click here to read the amazing story of Derreck Kayongo, an African man who started a soap recycling foundation.
Prayer – let’s take Jesus’ warning seriously. Are there insignificant things that are occupying your time and attention that are contributing to a neglect of the more important matters of life? Never forget, justice trumps spices any day.
Giving generously is important. Let’s get that foundational part of our life sorted out.
Let’s move on to the more important matters such as: justice, mercy and faithfulness.
Let’s avoid a “knowing-doing gap” by making sure our life practices match our beliefs.
Consider your response regarding justice today: ACT through attending to your Awareness, your Choices and your Time. We can’t all do everything but we can all do something!