How Can I Help Solve the World's Problems? (Y1.T1.D55)
Updated: Jan 20
Pexels, "Thảo Lê"
A friend recently returned from her first journey to a developing country and echoed the same sentiments I’d shared with her years ago:
“The needs of the world are overwhelming.”
The Savior said much the same thing in Matthew 9:
Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few." (v. 35–37)
When I witness the immense hurting of the multitudes, I'm tempted to climb into a comfortable chair, wrap myself in a soft blanket and hide my face. While I might feel better for a moment, it’s not the correct solution.
Here are three specific things we are called to do in response to the world’s needs.
Act. Even though the demands on Jesus were overwhelming, that didn’t stop him from helping the individuals directly in front of him. James 2:14–17 states: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man says he has faith, but has no works? Can faith save him? And if a brother or sister is naked and in lack of daily food, and one of you tells them, 'Go in peace. Be warmed and filled;' yet you didn’t give them the things the body needs, what good is it? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead in itself.”
Pray. After Jesus commented on the overwhelming needs of the world, he instructed his disciples to: “Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest” (Matthew 9:38). Whenever we see someone in need, we should quickly lift a prayer to God, asking what we can do—and then do it. In addition, we should be asking God to send others to help as well.
Give. When the doing is done and prayers have been prayed, Proverbs 22:9 reminds us that, “He who has a generous eye will be blessed; for he shares his food with the poor.” While money isn’t the first reaction, it can be a good response. Deuteronomy 15:7 commands: “If a poor man, one of your brothers, is with you within any of your gates in your land which Yahweh your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor shut your hand from your poor brother.”
As an individual, I’m incapable of solving all the world's problems, but that doesn’t mean I should do nothing. When I feel overwhelmed by tragic news, it’s okay to find a safe place to process what I’ve learned while conversing with the God who cares about the world more than I ever could.
He will provide me with the peace to get up and do, as well as the necessary resources to share.
I'll Be a Laborer
40b and went in where the child was lying. (Mark 5:40b)
26 The report of this went out into all that land.
27 As Jesus passed by from there, two blind men followed him, calling out and saying, “Have mercy on us, son of David!” 28 When he had come into the house, the blind men came to him. Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?”
They told him, “Yes, Lord.”
29 Then he touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith be it done to you.” 30 Then their eyes were opened. Jesus strictly commanded them, saying, “See that no one knows about this.” 31 But they went out and spread abroad his fame in all that land.
32 As they went out, behold, a mute man who was demon possessed was brought to him. 33 When the demon was cast out, the mute man spoke. The multitudes marveled, saying, “Nothing like this has ever been seen in Israel!”
34 But the Pharisees said, “By the prince of the demons, he casts out demons.”
35 Jesus went about all the cities and the villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the Good News of the Kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness among the people. 36 But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion for them because they were harassed and scattered, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest indeed is plentiful, but the laborers are few. 38 Pray therefore that the Lord of the harvest will send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:26–38)
44 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid. In his joy, he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.
45 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a merchant seeking fine pearls, 46 who having found one pearl of great price, he went and sold all that he had and bought it.
47 “Again, the Kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet that was cast into the sea and gathered some fish of every kind, 48 which, when it was filled, fishermen drew up on the beach. They sat down and gathered the good into containers, but the bad they threw away. 49 So will it be in the end of the world. The angels will come and separate the wicked from among the righteous, 50 and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 51 Jesus said to them, “Have you understood all these things?”
They answered him, “Yes, Lord.”
52 He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has been made a disciple in the Kingdom of Heaven is like a man who is a householder, who brings out of his treasure new and old things.”
53 When Jesus had finished these parables, he departed from there. (Matthew 13:44–53)
Since there will always be poor in the land, help me open my hand to the needy (Deuteronomy 15:11). Show me one person You want me to help today. Guide me on what to do, how to pray, and what resources I should share. Remove from this action any vanity; instead in humility, help me count others better than myself (Philippians2:3). I want the world to know I work for You (Colossians 3:23).
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