“Men and women everywhere are being made acutely aware of the fact that something essential to life and well-being is flickering very low in the human species and threatening to go out entirely. This ‘something’ has to do with such values as love…unselfishness… integrity…sincerity…loyalty to one’s best…honesty…enthusiasm…humility…goodness …happiness…fun.” *
Now, as never before in the history of civilization, is our friendship with ALL life so desperately needed. We need to have the hearts of loving, caring stewards of the planet earth, of all the animals, of one another, and of our own selves. Due to global warming, the horrendous trashing of the environment, the destruction of the habitats of multiple species, and a multitude of other mind-boggling problems, HOW, ON EARTH, CAN ANY OF US CONTINUE TO “DO OUR OWN THING” WHEN THE FRIENDSHIP AND HELP OF EVERYONE IS DESPERATELY NEEDED TO TURN THINGS AROUND?
We need to remind ourselves of who we are and what we are for. We are children of our Father, God, the Creator. Jesus, the Christ, is our Master and Lord, which means we need to maintain a certain attitude and commitment as to how we use our time and resources, and what for. We are to grow to be like Christ. Christ was a helper, a server, a savior. He filled all sorts of needs in those around Him. He did not leave people in their misery while He went off to have good times, fabulous vacations, and to accumulate gobs of material possessions. (In fact, as far as we know, He accumulated no material possessions whatsoever, except for the clothes upon His back.) He responded to the pain of others by healing it. Do we really realize that we are supposed to follow Him in those stewardship ways, and to be like Him? Our lives have real meaning and purpose only when we are engaged in activities which mimic Jesus, and which involve stewardship of His creation. In this stewardship we are serving Him.
Oh, how we need to change! So many of the things our culture tells us are “OK” to have and to do are actually harmful to the earth itself and to the creatures upon it. We have become so complacent, so indifferent, so apathetic, so self-centered, and so self-absorbed! Well, our culture tells us it is just fine to be like that! Shouldn’t everyone have a new car, boat, huge new house, snowmobile, in-home luxury entertainment center, and on and on to infinity and to ad nauseum? Jesus said, “OH, NO, YOU SHOULDN’T FOLLOW THE WORLD! FOLLOW ME!” Do we really believe He meant that, and that He had very good reasons for saying that? Even though our heads may say, “Oh, yes, I believe it,” how we actually live may suggest otherwise. One comprehensive study by a sociologist found that over 90% of interviewed Americans stated they believe in God. However, only a minority reported that God was involved in their everyday lives. They had no real sense of connection or mission.
Do we really see ourselves as a creature among creatures, all living on this created globe, all part of the cosmos? Do we have deep respect and compassion for all other creatures, and consistently act as true friends of them and of their environment? Jesus did say, “As you do unto them, so you do unto Me.”
When we become deeply aware of the needs, and feel real compassion, we start acting like true friends and revise our schedules and routines to work on the THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER THE MOST. There is so much for us to do! The needs can be organized into four areas:
All of us who are friends of Jesus need to really get going. For the earth, we don’t know how much time we’ve got left before global warming and etc. has brought on irreversible, horrendous catastrophe. In terms of other animals, billions are in terrible pain and misery at every moment, day and night. If we know that, and do nothing to help them, how can we say we “know Jesus?” Millions of human persons are terribly lonely, depressed, anxious, and otherwise miserable. “Big pharma” has gotten very rich on tranquilizers and antidepressants for such sufferers. One thing these drugged individuals really need is good friends. Do we bother? I read recently that the average amount of time Americans spend involved in some kind of media – TV, computers, I-pods, earphones or whatever, is ten hours per day. That’s even hard to believe! How can people so “plugged in” have time for quality occasions with anyone? Well, we Americans haven’t taken very good care of ourselves, either. As is common knowledge now, degenerative diseases such as diabetes, obesity, heart trouble, and so forth are reaching down into the single-digit ages, as well as being epidemic among actually all ages except perhaps newborns and toddlers. Bad diets and inactivity are believed to be the worst culprits.
One thing is for sure! I don’t want to be standing in front of Jesus at “the pearly gates” and have Him say to me, “Well, Joyce, you knew about and were hurting over so many of those dire needs down there. …And what did you try to do to help them?” Uh-oh! I had better have some good answers ready!
Moreover, I know that there have been countless individuals who have not given up on challenges, who have not said “Let someone else do it,” and who have forged ahead even though the tasks seemed insurmountable. I’ve decided not to be a “party doll,” living mainly for the next sumptuous meal, incredible purchase, or sizzling good time, even though I need some recreation in there, too. So, I’ve made many positive changes, and continue to struggle to improve more and more, however I can.
For all my faults, I care, I care, I care, and that’s why I’m writing this to you today My writing this is part of my effort to be among those who never stop trying. All of us who care need to keep expanding our caring hearts, and to be forever friends with Jesus and all His creation and show our loyalty by what we actually DO. Good intentions are good starting points, but we can only make an impact by following through responsibly and sensitively.
*Boone, J. Allen, Kinship With All Life, Harper & Row (New York, 1954), p. 7.
Dr. Joyce of firstname.lastname@example.org