So a few days a go, I wrote a post on KONY 2012. The Kony discussion is still going round. (Check out Rage Against the Minivan and Jen Hatmaker.) I do have to wonder if all the Kony talk will soon start to fade into the background, to just become a video people once watched, a controversy once created.
I often am intrigued by the way we get fired up, angry or righteously indignant over injustice by then silently slip back into the world we live in where such inequalities are absent. I know it's easy for me to do. It is just so easy to harden your heart to the homeless guy or to ignore a friend's email about a family in need or to feel badly yet remain unmoved by the plight of Haitians who have spent 2 years living in tents since the earthquake.
I'm sure there are thousands of reason why people don't do more. No time, no money, no ability to feel like you can really solve the problems. The go with the flow factor, the it's just easier factor, the but I'm not sure if my money will be used correctly factor.
All of those are somewhat valid concerns. We should strive to be good stewards of our time and talents and treasures. That said, let me challenge you a bit with the concept of a good steward.
What if God's view of stewardship is not based on success or failure?
I fear we as Americans can let our desire to do things perfectly paralyze our ability to act. We worry about if our time and money will be well invested and so we research and wonder and wait for the just right moment which may or may not ever come. I'm not saying don't think through who you invest in. I'm not saying be foolhardy. I'm just saying maybe we need to quit nitpicking things to death.
Like the KONY campaign.
Do I believe Kony should be stopped? Of course. Am I sold on American military intervention as the way do do so? No. Do I think it is beneficial for people to act like those behind the Kony campaign should not do something because they are white and it might appear like they are the good guys riding in to rescue the brown people? Um, no because that's about the most ridiculous thing I've every heard. Do I think the people of Africa need to be the main impetus behind what happens? Yes. Am I completely convinced that the Invisible People group is using its money in the most efficient ways possible? No. Do I think the majority of large groups, especially those that are very public, have trouble ensuring that the money is used effectively? Yes.
But mostly what I believe is that when it comes to being invested in the lives of the marginalized, we need to stop with the fault finding and get busy doing something. Serving out of love is not something that will appear in a nice neat package with a perfectly tied bow. It will involve mistakes and missteps and the misuse of money.
I can't help but think about the parable of the three servants who were given talents by their master. Each one was entrusted with this wealth was the master was away. Two servant invested it and were able to share the profit with their master. But one servant buried it because he was afraid of losing it as his master was a hard man.
Did you hear those words?
He was so afraid of it being lost, of the possibility that it would be misused and not make any gains, that he buried it.
He buried it... And was then called a wicked servant by the master.
For a long time, this story bugged me. I mean, what is so wrong with wanting to make sure you don't lose the money? Isn't it good to be cautious and careful? And that is where God's economy differs from mine. I want results. I want to have a profitable investment. But what if, in some situations, God is asking us to give not because of the end product but because of what the process of giving does for our heart?
I'll end with some words from Jen Hatmaker.
"When it is all said and done, when my grandchildren read about Joseph Kony and eleven-year-old sex slaves in Haiti and children sleeping on the streets in Ethiopia and foster kids in their fifteen home, and they say, “What did you do about all these tragedies?”
I am not going to say, “Well, I didn’t want to be labeled a white supremacist, so I wrote mean blogs about folks who threw their hat in the ring.”
I am not going to say, “It was complicated. So I didn’t do anything.”
I am not going to say, “People were extremely critical back then. It was PR suicide to engage difficult issues. I remained troubled but silent on the sidelines. I cared in my mind.”
I am not going to say, “I researched and debated and read a lot of books and articles. I was very, very informed. Believe me, I understood the issues. I waxed very poetic about it all.”
I hope to say, “I joined the fight, because justice denied anywhere means justice denied everywhere. I jumped in, imperfectly, even though I knew critics would come out of the woodwork, questioning my motives and methods and ignorance and intentions. I decided to use my voice and my resources, because that could be my daughter and my sister and my community. That mother is me. Those children are you. I didn’t get it perfectly right. I couldn't address it all. I couldn't even address the entire scope of one problem. I didn’t change the whole world. But I moved.”"