Continuing my reflections on the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit, I’m going to do something today that I almost never do: talk about a politician.
I am rather jaded when it comes to politics, and I NEVER endorse candidates publicly. Not to sound overly simplistic or self-righteous, but I would much rather spend my time endorsing Jesus. However, one of the most powerful speakers at the Summit this year was a man named Cory Booker, who is the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey. He is a politician, but he preached it.
A self-described Christian, Mayor Booker shared a number of inspiring stories about his mission in Newark, but it was the perspective behind his vision that I found especially challenging, and Scriptural. At one point during his talk, Mayor Booker declared,
“Your attitude about the world says nothing about the world, but a lot about your character. What you see outside of you is a reflection of what is inside of you.”
These words are actually an echo of Jesus’ words in Luke 6:45:
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
At a time when our economy is struggling, when Christians are pulling their kids out of public schools because the system is so broken, when millions of women are literally missing due to sex trafficking, when the American family becomes increasingly fragmented, and our nation slides further towards a spineless kind of moral relativism, Mayor Booker’s words were a real check on my spirit.
It is so easy to point to the world and blame, blame, blame. Christians should be doing this, or politicians should be doing that. The younger generations are lazy and entitled. The older generations are irrelevant to the culture. Etc., etc. But Jesus’ words, as recaptured by Mayor Booker, are an indictment of this mindset. When we place blame everywhere but ourselves, we betray ourselves spiritually. We reveal a hopelessness and despair that is out of sync with God’s ability to redeem. We uncover a vision that has been crippled by sin instead of enlarged by the resurrection. Rather than see what the world could be through the power of Christ, we see only what it is.
Vision is not outside ourselves. It is an overflow of the heart. So we need to be asking whether we process and engage the world according to sin, or according to Christ’s victory over sin. Thankfully for us, God was not content to sit back and judge humanity for our brokenness, but instead took that sin upon Himself, came near to us in the flesh, and became the redemptive means by which we are delivered from this mess. Rather than command us to change, God enacted the transformation personally. As the Church, our call is the same.
What does your engagement of the world say about your heart? Are you an active part in God’s redemption of humanity, or a passive spectator? Are you wasting time pointing fingers, or living into the example of Christ? Gandhi is famously quoted as saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I could not agree more, but no one did it more perfectly than Jesus.