Thousands of sermons will be preached this week about the need for America to return to God. But very few of them will outline just HOW that is to be done. Most preachers will simply speak of the evils of the country without providing the remedy for its many diseases.
I have grown weary of hearing sermons that are too generic, too broad, and fail to give me concrete answers on what to do and HOW to do it. That begs this question: Just what can you and I do that will help America?
Think of all the conversations that take place over coffee, discussing what is wrong with our country. Think of the millions of men and women who gather daily at Dennys, IHOP, or wherever, and talk about what is wrong with our country. But those conversations will be held by those who more than likely will make no contribution to the betterment of America.
Their talk will merely be "talk."
So - just what can you and I do that will help our ailing country? There are three things I know to do, and each of them carry great promise.
Is there anything more fruitless than a group of people sitting around discussing what is wrong with America...when they have no intention of making any contribution that will make it better?
I know we get weary of hearing this. We doubt that our individual prayers will really make a difference. And that is where we are deceived. Furthermore, our lack of faith is revealed in such a statement. We are told in James 5 that "...the prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much."
Think about that: "...accomplishes much." Isn't "much" exactly what we need in this dark hour? Is not the evidence in that reveals the utter darkness that permeates our land? And to think that you and I have the privilege to pray our country in a right direction - yet fail to do so.
I wonder if one of the main reasons that our country is in such a mess is due to the lack of prayers form the churches? Wednesday night prayer meetings have all but been abandoned, and replaced by other activities that bear little, if any, fruit (choir practice, supper, etc). Is it any wonder that our churches are so powerless and impotent?
Churches complain about how the courts have removed prayer from the schools. But I submit that we cannot demand prayer be restored to the schools until it is first RESTORED IN THE CHURCH!
I am disturbed at the direction of our elected leaders. And I find it easy to criticize. But my criticism generates no change. It only lights a fire in the hearts of others to do likewise, and together we "gripe our way through the day" - BUT WE MAKE NO LASTING DIFFERENCE FOR THE BETTER.
It is not enough to tell others how they should live - we must pattern for them what righteous living looks like. Paul the Apostle understood this. This is precisely what he told Titus in the second chapter of his letter to him...
"...in all things showing thyself to be a pattern of good works..."
Now we get down to the root of many of our problems: the lack of those who pattern the godly life, the lack of those who serve as role-models. At least 4 times in the New Testament Paul was able to tell his recipients to "imitate" him. People need to see what the Christian life looks like. And that's where you and I come in.
This is precisely what God did. When He wanted to show the world what He looked like, He put on flesh and blood and showed up in the body of Jesus. And now, He is doing it again. How? He has put Himself in another body - THE CHURCH! And the church patterns for the world what life really looks like.
People cannot believe what they cannot see. And that is where you and I, once again, enter the scene. We SHOW them what Christianity looks like.
By means of prayer you can go straight to the White House, walk past the Secret Service, and go right into the Oval Office and "meet with" the president! Think about it!
I once heard a story about four businessmen who were running to catch the train before it left. As they raced down the corridor, and turned the corner, they collided with a table manned by a 10-year old blind boy. The boy was selling apples to raise money for school. The apples were strewn about. But the men rushed to catch the train.
When they got on the train, one of them was convicted about what he had done. He departed the train and returned to the little boy to assist him. He gave the boy a 20 dollar bill and assured him that that would take care of his apples. The businessman then walked away. But as he left, the boy called out, "...Sir, excuse me. But are you Jesus?"
Wow! Yes, we must pattern the life of Jesus. We must show evidence of our convictions - not just preach them to others. We cannot continue to tell kids how they ought to live while we fail to live up to the standard we would have them abide by.
Here's a biggie! What contribution are you making to your community? If you think that the local politicians are screwing everything up, then take a shot at getting elected. Get on the school board. Mentor a child. Volunteer somewhere.
By all means: PARTICIPATE IN YOUR COMMUNITY! Don't just sit back and tell everyone what's wrong. Do something about it. Get involved. Go to PTA. Join an organization that fights for the community.
Here's an idea. Men, you could find a fatherless young boy in the local elementary school and mentor him. Give him 30 minutes a week. You may save his life by doing so.
So, my fellow gripers and complainers, whiners and grumblers, let us rise up and tackle the issues in our country by starting with our community. A better community makes a better country.