We see injustice. We see pornography and sexual abuse. We see scraping poverty and economic systems of oppression. We see big business in bed with the military and little Arab girls get bombed to kingdom come. We see millions of children dismembered and sucked out of their mother’s wombs by medical vacuum cleaners. And meanwhile, we’re busy defending men who want to be praised for the way they anally rape each other.
What shall we do? How can we change this? How can we change the world? The answer must begin with the One who made it. The answer must begin with how God has worked to change the systems of injustice in the past, and how God has acted decisively to change the whole world through His Son.
So, how has God changed the world?
1. Through Babies and Children: How many birth and infant narratives are there in the Bible? Isaac? Jacob? Moses? Sampson? Samuel? John the Baptizer? Jesus? And certainly more if you count passing references: David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Timothy, etc. How does God save childless Abraham? How does God save Israel from famine? How does God deliver His people from bondage? How does He make a way of escape? The answer, again and again, is through courageous mothers bearing children, and little ones rising up to become great. A young child will put his hand in the viper’s den; a little child will lead them. Do you have children? Do you love your children? Do you take your baptismal vows seriously? Are you training them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord? Are you sacrificing greatly to see their hearts and minds made sharp and keen to love God with all their heart, mind, soul, and strength and to hate all lies and evil? If you don’t have children, are you praying for the parents around you? Are you looking for ways to support them, uphold them, aid them, assist them? Has God called you to be a teacher? A foster parent? A nurse? A doctor? How can you support God’s plan to change the world through children? Out of the mouth of little babies, God has ordained strength because of our enemies. Let the little children come; for of such is the Kingdom — and the Kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ. If you are in the trenches with children, raising them up with faith in the promises of God, you are an Eve, an Abraham, a Sarah, a Miriam, a Hebrew midwife, a Manoah, a Hannah, an Elizabeth, a Mary.
2. Faithfulness in the Little Things: Notice how the Bible doesn’t care about “grassroots” efforts. Or another way to say this is that God’s “grassroots” program is called: the Church. When a man cares for his own household, when he loves and provides for his wife and children, when he works hard and leads sacrificially, making sure his family is in Church worshiping Jesus every Sunday, not serving his own interests but faithfully giving himself away for their needs, when a man tithes and gives extra to missions and mercy work and shares with those in need around him, forgoing toys he might really desire — that’s God’s grassroots resistance to “the system.” But God doesn’t really care where the food came from that’s sitting on your table. Yes, Paul says that if someone offers you a lollypop from Prostitutes-R-Us you should decline for the sake of conscience. And sure, you make buying decisions all day long that can include interests in supporting Christians and biblical financial standards, but Jesus says to go ahead and pay your taxes to Caesar. Paul says give thanks for the filet mignon and don’t ask too many questions about where it came from. But this isn’t because Jesus is OK with Caesar. It’s because Jesus plans to inherit Caesar’s kingdom and undo the evil from the inside. And so again and again, we see those who are faithful in the little things inheriting much: Abraham, Joseph, David, Jesus. The key isn’t starting a grassroots movement to boycott raisins, those poor, marginalized grapes so oppressed by the sun. The key is trusting in Jesus, being faithful to love your wife, respect your husband, not looking at porn, rejoicing at the Lord’s Supper, singing Psalms, giving to the needs right in front of you, training up your children, telling the truth, tithing and giving sacrificially to the work of God, and then as boring and mundane as that may seem, sometimes God will then make you the CEO of Grapes Unlimited, and you will be asked about what you think about raisins. Far too many people want to grasp for that power and authority — they think because they read a few articles online or watched a few fringe documentaries their opinion should matter, but until God raises you up, until He gives you your inheritance, you are ironically still working within the system of Mammon, grasping, pawing for power.
3. Give What You’ve Been Given: This is also part of understanding what Jesus means when He says we must become like little children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. We must learn to trust our Father. We must learn to see this entire world as His backyard, our treasure hunt and playground. We must believe that He cares for us, that He gives good gifts, and if He so clothes the flowers of the field, how much more will He care for you? Look around. This world is Christmas every day. God is giving constantly: giving life, giving health, giving food and water, steak and beer, and if we understand what is going on, it teaches us to be frivolous. It teaches us to be free with all things because all things come from our Father, who owns everything. Our Father is the Richest One, and now we are His children. How can we ever be poor again? But we do not forget where it all comes from. We were rebel sons and daughters. We rejected and scorned this inheritance our Father had stored up for us, and so He sent His Beloved Son. He sent His Beloved Son to bear the awful curse. He who had the right to demand glory, the right to demand authority, the right to insist that He be treated well — He endured the shame of being born and being a nobody, being a misunderstood rabbi, being rejected and falsely accused, beaten and mocked, and finally executed outside of Jerusalem like a common criminal, like a run of the mill revolutionary.
This is how God changed the world and how we came into this inheritance. He, in His grace and mercy, invaded our hearts and we were born again. We have become children again from the inside, and now we are part of His family. This is the way of the cross, the way of the blood-bought inheritance of the saints, the way of forgiveness for sinners, pardon for the guilty, ransom for the rebel slaves. It’s the way of little children; it’s the way of faithfulness in little things; it’s the way of gratitude and grace and giving.
If you’re acing this stuff and God is granting you greater opportunities in politics, greater opportunities in business, in international economics, in the wide world of arts, then fantastic. God bless you, and be the Daniel, be the Joseph, be the Esther, be the Paul standing before kings, declaring the truth of God with compassion and courage. But in the meantime, for most of us, we need to recognize the hunger for change as often just another version of greed, a cleverly disguised lust for power, but contentment with godliness is actually great gain (1 Tim. 6:6).
This is not apathy. This is not complacency — this is the strategy of God, the strategy of childbearing and childrearing, the tactics of small stones well-aimed, the power of God to bring every giant down.