With the internet has come awareness unparalleled in history. Awareness of what, you ask? Everything – celebrity fashion choices and relationship status, starving children in Sudan, police violence, political controversy, cat videos, Isis, Nuclear crises, flash mobs, newly discovered signing talent. Literally every event can be live-tweeted. Any person can promote a cause or a brand or themself, and many people have become quite good at doing so. This is the age of information, and often it’s more than we can handle.
One way this exhibits itself is “cause overload.” For Christians who long to be serving others and fighting for justice the buffet of options to choose from is paralyzing. Whereas once we could serve in one or two places in our local community now we see requests from kickstarter and GoFundMe to help an adoptive family in Cleveland or a single mom in Sacramento. We receive the newsletters from community development groups in Chicago, Atlanta, and Houston. We want to defund Planned Parenthood and stop systemic injustice in law enforcement and the judicial system. We want to care for the families of slain police officers and soldiers. We want to tell unreached peoples about Jesus. And we need to choose for whom to vote next year.
To make matters worse all these causes are good. They all honor God. They are all worthwhile. And people are relentlessly pitching them with commendable passion. We simply cannot process and respond to all this information, but not responding seems wrong, like we’re letting someone down and we’re heartless. What are we to do?
Maybe just curl up in bed for the rest of the decade, thanks.
Or maybe there’s another way we should frame all this. God made us for something. He made you, me, and every other individual with unique abilities and a unique purpose. He did not make any of us individually for every purpose or to meet every need, but he did make all of us collectively to do so.
That’s what the “body of Christ” means – an assembly of artfully designed individuals doing what God made us to do in a manner that collectively advances His kingdom’s purposes. We don’t have to do what everyone else does or what Twitter guilts us into. We don’t have to be ashamed of saying “no.” We don’t have to say yes to everything, but we have to say yes to something.
When you see the news or read a newsletter or walk through your neighborhood something tugs at you. What is it?
You were made with a makeup, a set of skills, a personality, and an environment. What is it channeling you toward? What is the intersection between how God has made you and where he has put you?
“Cause overload” comes from feeling the need to do what only Jesus can do – heal every wound, meet every need, wipe every tear, and right every wrong. He will do those things some day. He promised. In the mean time we do not need to be Jesus, we simply need to each be one cell in His body. We need to do what that cell was made to do and do it to our maximum ability. We ought to appreciate every other cell for its work and never criticize another cell for not doing our kind of work. And together we can do a fair representation of Jesus on behalf of the world around us.