I live a life of extremes. I know I am involved with too many things and have far too many passions in life. My head sometimes spins with ideas, thinking of ways to create something, challenge people, and then sometimes I am overcome with the needs of where I live.
I know all of this makes me incredibly annoying to some people. I can’t seem to stop talking about these things. Whether it be fighting the drug culture in my town, fighting for money to keep a youth centre running, or trying to bring hope to new communities.
I am guilty of speaking about things that are my passions and throwing them on others. This may challenge some people into action but it also can cause friction as some already have their own passions, or perhaps are happy to have none.
For many years when I spoke at various youth events I would be the guy who would be talking about sponsoring children with various groups, taking up offerings for various causes, and inviting people to go on trips with mission organizations. Looking back, I know I have been very blunt with people. I know I even offended people with what I have said about people in North America who do not help the poor of the world in some way. I know I have definitely offended religious people as I have quoted scripture verses about what Jesus said would happen to those who did nothing. (You should look these up)
However, for a moment let me explain why I think I am so annoying at times. Some of this is based on my life experiences, some on my faith, and some on just being a person on the planet.
Every year when we take teams to do mission work we do several debriefs. At the last one of every trip I ask everyone to bring a rock with them. There is a story I tell about how ancient groups would take stones and make a pile where some event happened. The purpose was simply so a genration later if someone was there and asked, ‘why are these here?’ Someone would say because this certain event happened, right here, and we need to remember.
I then ask everyone to write something on the rock that they brought. Just one word. Just one thing, one change, one thought they want to remember. In the midst of a mission experience where people have experienced poverty, the joy of helping, suffering, love, and other things most people write something extremely meaningful.
I then ask everyone to take that rock home and simple put it somewhere in their house where they will see it. This is just meant to be a simple reminder of the promises we all made to ourselves to change or work on.
One of mine many years ago was simply this, ‘Remember’. Not the most creative, but it certainly has been costly. The reason I wrote that was because I had been on many trips, I have seen terrible things, and I have then gone home and lived the same. I wanted to remember. I wanted to remember the people I met. I wanted to remember what I thought. I wanted to remember how selfish I have lived. I wanted to remember the promises I made in my mind to help in any way I could. I wanted to remember because I know I didn’t follow through.
There is a scripture I heard someone speak on several years ago that I will never forget. It is Proverbs 31:8 and 9. It says this, ‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
You see I have decided to be an advocate. This means I am someone who speaks on behalf of the poor, broken, or voiceless. I have decided to speak and call othes to action even if it annoys people. Being annoyed is one of our 1st world rights and pleasures. I have decided to be a voice for every person I have met on those trips.
So in the end I do not mind asking others to help. I know I will annoy people. I am ok with that.
Today I challenge you for one moment to think about someone who has far less than you.