Just recently I was honoured with a request to sit on a board. It was concerning a new 'movement' that some guys wanted to start. They were calling young people from about three different churches to sit on that board. It was basically a bid to start what seems to be happening in other countries and was started by two guys in America who happen to be identical twins. Its called "The Rebelution", defined as a teenage rebellion against the low expectations of an ungodly culture. In essence it is encouraging teens to do 'big things' in their teen years. Its a 'good idea' but one I am not ready to throw my weight in due to... read on.
A friend of mine shared his dream and vision with me a couple weeks ago. It reminded me of something I learnt while away from home. He told me of how his University dilapidated and had never actually been completed since its initial construction some 50yrs (plus-minus) ago. His dream and vision was to see his school restored to its former state and completed. He attends the biggest and oldest higher institution of learning in the land and so it was no small deal.
He wanted to rally up as many sponsors as possible from graduate students, the government, well wishers, current students, NGOs, companies etc. It was a massive idea and would take alot to accomplish.
Well, I didn't really want to discourage him, but I did mention before commending him, that I once had dreams like that...
I know our nation is in bad condition. Jobs are hard to find, for many finishing school is like hitting a dead end, nowhere to go from there, colleges are either full, unavailable or unaffordable.
I know about the sickness and poverty and corruption. I know about the street kids. I know that AIDS is rearing its dark shadow over the nation. I realise that young men are drinking their lives away and how great a waste of resource it is for our country. Many times I have thought up ideas and solutions to solve these problems. "Maybe if I did this or that", I'd think. I even considered entering politics after school and causing some positive influence. I've always dreamed of changing our nation somehow or other, but all these initiatives, dreams and visions have since ceased. And that is exactly what I told my friend.
The question was, of course, why? Why'd I give up on those dreams? Dreams of changing the face of our nation as we know it today?
Well, those dreams ceased when I realised the heart of the matter. I was working on the presupposition that the more comfortable, developed and wealthy a society is, the better it becomes. I thought, the eradication of the many things that are pulling our nation down, would make things more pleasant and everyone would be happy.
I had the privilege of living in a society whose welfare was far better than where I was from. It was a whole new world for me. Proper roads and road networks, good health care, more jobs, availability of education, etc. It was a far cry from what I was accustomed to. I remember thinking if only home was like this, things would be better. It didn't take long for me to find that my ideal society was not ideal at all. It seemed that the more sophisticated a society was, the more sophisticated its sin was as well. I was hearing and seeing things I'd never even dreamed. The development, comfort and wealth of a society obviously wasn't the issue, there was a deeper and more serious problem other than the lack of the aforementioned, namely, the problem of sin.
No amount of development or sophistication could make a society better, because the problem is not a lack of development or sophistication. The problem isn't a lack of health care or education or the prevalence of corruption, poverty or sickness. The problem is the heart of man. Jeremiah says, "the human heart is the most deceitful of ALL things and DESPERATELY wicked, who can understand it?" (Jer 17:9). This is common for a poor or rich man. Educated man or uneducated man, Simple or sophisticated man. They all have one thing in common, sinful hearts.
Any efforts to better a man are useless without Jesus Christ. Its the same with a community or nation. The gospel is the answer.
I am not saying that we should not help people or engage in or aid humanitarian efforts but its not something you'd want to throw the bulk of your resources in because it doesn't change lives like the gospel does. Our energies must be spent, more than anywhere else, in something that actually cures and saves, the gospel. I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life fighting and working towards a better economy. I'd just help where I can. I'd rather spend and be spent most for the spreading of the gospel because I know, that Jesus is the answer for the world today!
My buddy, if he goes ahead with his plan, will spend alot of energy, time and money. Imagine what could result if he spent those resources in the only thing that will ever make his University better, the gospel! I'd feel differently if the spreading of the gospel was included in his plan. The rebelution, as well, will improve lives (after a lot of sweat blood and tears [and time and money]) but again, what about the only cure for man kind, the gospel? Where is it in there?
Wealth doesn't improve a man's well being, the gospel does.
You can take a man from poverty and give him a better life but he will remain the empty sinner he was. Unless you give him Christ, you havn't given him anything.
We can rebuild our towns and roads, and improve our transport systems, and elevate our economy and educate and medicate the people but unless we offer our nation the Lord Jesus Christ along with that, we would have done nothing other than waste our resources. And besides:
"Only one life, 'twill soon be past,
Only what's done for Christ will last."