Our whole lives many of us are told that we can make a difference. It is plastered on the walls of our elementary and high schools, and it is instilled in us throughout college or university. We are constantly encouraged to become a part of a movement that will change the world. But then, it seems, when we get in the world, when we start 'adulting', that idea and passion becomes all but a passing thought. So my question becomes, why is it that we stop believing that?
One of my classes this semester is about Christian Social & Political Movements, and today we watched the film "Amazing Grace". It covers William Wilberforce and his passionate movement to abolish slavery in the British Empire. As the movie concluded, the thought hit me; we stop thinking we can change the world because we refuse to put a long term effort into a long term solution.
We are stuck trying to combat change with a 4 day turnaround. Our society of "I need it here and I need it now" has brainwashed us to believe that impacting the world is like going through a drive thru. You order your meal, drive up, pay in loose change, and receive your meal. Done and Done. But what we forget to consider is that we get exactly what we pay for, a lackluster, luke-warm, paper bag lunch that never looks like the picture... yes, it does the job of filling the hunger for the moment but what it doesn't do is nourish the body for long term purpose.
"Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."
This verse comes out of the scenario where the disciples of Jesus were trying to cast out a demon and failed. When Jesus came around they asked him why they couldn't do it, and verse 20 is what Jesus said to them. His message was that works without faith is fruitless... that we must have both faith and works, we cannot just have faith and watch God do the work. (For more on faith and deeds, see James 2:14-26)
If we want to see real, permanent change in the world, we must be willing to do the work. We must be willing to put in the blood, sweat, tears and time. While our faith may move the mountain our hands and feet must prepare its destination. We must be willing and ready to get our hands dirty, clear the landing pad for God to do the real miracle, of moving whatever mountain we choose to face.
It took William Wilberforce almost 30 years of petitioning the British House, his fellow English men and women, MP's and Nobility, and many failed attempts until he successfully had a bill passed to abolish the slave trade. 30 years after that, Slavery was abolished altogether. It took so much time and effort of not only Wilber but the collection of men and women who stood alongside him to fight the good fight. Their passion was not limited by short term vision, hard work and the walls they hit.
I don't think a single person would argue that even though it took 60 years to get there, the change was well worth the investment.