Today, I will fish banana peels and cereal boxes out of the trash to sort them into recycling bins and compost. I will reheat leftovers instead of wasting food and include in my meal plan a meat-free dinner later this week. I will walk a block to the coffee shop instead of driving my fuel-powered car. I will plan a pollinator garden and research native species to plant in place of all this grass we have to mow.
And sometime today, I will laugh at myself as I don my Captain Planet costume. The devil of self-doubt and cynicism will creep in and whisper, “Sarah, do you really think all this fussing is going to change anything?”
The devil knows that the answer is yes. The devil doesn’t want me to believe it.
The truth is that the whole of humanity has been impacted by the fussing of a few individuals who believe in the promise of a better way. It was true two thousand years ago, and it is still true today.
Yes, this fussing will change things. That’s why the devil doesn’t want you to believe it.
Global changes happen when individuals everywhere decide to live differently.
From Grassroots Evangelism to Global Church Movement: 2,000 Years of Progress
How was it possible that a rag-tag team of twelve apostles from working-class roots and nowhere villages could start a global movement? They didn’t form committees. They didn’t write a strategic plan. They didn’t partner with global superpowers. They boldly and humbly showed their neighbors the amazing grace of God’s great love. Their actions proved their message, their lives served as God’s letter to others, and their joy and freedom was infectious.
It spread, from dozens to hundreds, from hundreds to thousands, from one generation to the next generation, from this town to this village to this city to faraway countries, until hundreds of years later there are millions of believers who have embraced the call of Jesus to love God and love others, to view all of humanity as made in the image of God, to serve the poor and meet the needs of the least of these, and to live lives of joy, peace, and freedom out of the abundance of Christ’s love.
The true good news didn’t spread through global superpowers—no, people came to embrace the love of Christ through single encounters with other people whose lives had been transformed by God.
One person to the next. This is how lives are changed. This is the model that Christ gave in the gospels, the pathway to salvation, the roadmap to redemption, the blueprints for the coming kingdom of heaven.
It is with this hope that we have that Christians the world over have seen societies change for the better. Out of the goodness and compassion of one human heart, other lives are changed. We’ve seen it through World Vision sponsorships, Heifer International gifts, local food pantries and homeless shelters, neighbors helping neighbors, generous hospitality extended to strangers, and more.
The devil sometimes creeps in and whispers, “Oh, you cute little Christians. Do you really think all this fussing is going to change anything?”
He knows the answer is yes. He doesn’t want you to believe it. But God keeps calling us to greater compassion, more action, local leadership, and limitless love to defy the seeds of doubt the devil sows. Just watch this kingdom grow.
Small Steps toward a Global Turn-Around
Image: Ron Lach
We have the model given by Jesus, the model of radical compassion and healing action. If we believe that a cleaner, greener, healthier world for everyone is better than what we can offer our neighbors today, then each of us can make small changes that have a lasting impact on our brothers and sisters around the globe as well as future generations.
These small steps in our own backyard combine for perhaps the greatest act of global repentance yet.
And it’s already underway.
In a recent New York Times story, reporter David Gelles writes, “Across the country, a profound shift is taking place that is nearly invisible to most Americans. The nation that burned coal, oil and gas for more than a century to become the richest economy on the planet, as well as historically the most polluting, is rapidly shifting away from fossil fuels.”
In Pittsburgh, in Milwaukee, in Los Angeles, in Houston, Gelles writes, businesses and industries are transitioning to clean energy. In Tulsa, they’re manufacturing electric school buses. A planned solar farm in Arkansas will soon help power a local steel plant, reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 80%.
The same is true in small towns and church communities all across the country—I know, because every month Root & Vine shares more stories of more men and women planting community gardens, transitioning to solar power, becoming carbon neutral, cleaning up rivers, advocating for climate justice, and more. There are countless stories of individuals and communities doing what they can with their passion for nature and their compassion for fellow humans to make a difference in their own backyard.
And when millions of people collectively decide to make a small difference in their own backyard, we can make a world of difference.
All this fussing is changing things.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”Galatians 6:9 NIV