Sometimes we imagine changing the world requires stupendous feats, monumental courage, or superhuman endurance. We cheer heroes that devote their lives to particular issues and wish that we could make a difference like they do.
In a recently published book, pastor and professor Tony Merida makes an argument that changing the world by doing justice is a part of everyday Christianity. His book, aptly titled Ordinary, is a reminder that for real change to happen in the world,
We need Christians focusing on ordinary Christianity – speaking up for the voiceless, caring for the single mom, restoring the broken, bearing burdens, welcoming the functionally fatherless, and speaking the good news to people on a regular basis in order to change the world.
Seeking justice is part of actively living out our faith, working as co-laborers with God as he brings about renewal in the here and now that anticipates the final renovation in the New Heavens and New Earth.
Justice and Everyday Christianity
Though it may seem like this is best done by experts and religious professionals, there is so much work that a few specialists cannot hope to accomplish it all.
In fact, authors, speakers, and pastors are the least able to practically change the world. They fill important roles by instructing and equipping, but the very nature of that work removes them, to a degree, from being fully engaged in some of the nitty-gritty aspects of changing the world.
J.R.R. Tolkien expresses this sentiment through Elrond, when the four hobbits are chosen to dispose of the Ring:
Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.
The world around us recognizes this through the rise of crowdsourcing as a means of funding a startup.
It would be nice if there were a billionaire available to finance every new and good product idea. This, however, is not the case. So sites like Kickstarter and other crowdfunding ventures have been created.
Many mobile apps are being created through crowdsourcing. These apps meet needs, are often inexpensive or free, and they come from the cooperative effort of people throughout the market. Sometimes mobile apps are used to crowdsource efforts to end human trafficking.
Crowdsourcing demonstrates the truth behind the old saying: “Many hands make light work.” We live in an exciting time when technology permits synergistic cooperation that makes life better, helps to start new companies, and engages the energies of diverse people.
Crowdsourcing Justice in Everyday Life
The challenge, then, is to shift from only crowdsourcing our energies on the internet to structuring our ordinary lives with gospel intentionality. As we seek to renew the world around us, we need to see our mundane activities as part of God’s grand plan of redemption.
This means we will do our daily work well. As Dorothy L. Sayers argues in her famous essay, “Why Work?”, “It is the work that serves the community; the business of the worker is to serve the work.” When we do our work with excellence and gospel purpose, it will last.
This also means that we structure our leisure time to do small things to bring about renewal.
We invite people, both saved and lost, into our homes for dinner. We love our families well, demonstrating the power of the gospel to help sinners get along. We spend time mentoring children at the local elementary school.
These are small, ordinary things that can make a big difference if the efforts are crowdsourced.
As we live our lives with a desire to bring about renewal, most of us won’t become great historic figures. However, by living ordinary lives with gospel intentionality, we can do great things together.
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