Depending on how your life has played out so far, you may be experiencing some disappointment as your youthful ideals clashed with the hard realities of life. Sometimes chasing idealistic notions can direct us away from our calling in Christ.
Achieving big personal dreams or implementing social programs for the betterment of mankind really isn't at the heart of Christianity. God redeemed you and me by trading His power and importance for a hidden, mostly ordinary life that culminated in a humiliating death.
Philippians 2:5-8 NIV In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
People go into teaching, nursing, politics, or business with ideas of doing revolutionary things. Starting out with the passion to change the world often can be a quick trip to discouragement. Sometimes despair is a result of thinking too highly of oneself."
As Christians, we need to get rid of this despair which really comes from pride. Chasing big ideals on our own without direction and from the Holy Spirit can distract us from God's will.
Chasing right and noble ideals apart from Christ can also blind us from meeting the immediate needs of those sitting in front of us. In worst-case scenarios, a failure to balance the big picture with love for the least can lead well-meaning people down a path of utopian philosophies that promote widespread evil instead of good.
Jesus could easily have been a revolutionary and started a revolution to rid Palestine of the Roman occupiers and oppressors. One such opportunity was the time that Jesus spoke with a large crowd that included at least five thousand men.
John 6:1-15 NIV Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the signs he had performed by healing the sick. Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. The Jewish Passover Festival was near. When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?” He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “It would take more than half a year’s wages to buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten. After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.
Mark pointed out that they were in a “lonely,” or desert, place. Which would be ideal for a gathering of men who were intent on revolution.
Mark 6:30-31 NIV The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
Mark also said that there was much “coming and going”, suggesting great activity caused by Jesus’ appearance.
Notice finally that the crowd included many men. In a lonely place in an occupied land like Palestine, five thousand men wanting to make the charismatic leader their king would surely present a ready-made opportunity for revolution.
But Jesus would not take the militant revolutionary way. Now it is understandable today that some people do want to take that way. They take all they can take and reach the point where they say, “No more!” They think that it may be wise for those who have bread to figure out a way to help those who don’t, to avoid the risk of a time coming when nobody has bread or anything else.
On the other hand, Jesus, even with all his compassion and appreciation for the agonies of injustice suffered by his people, knew that he could feed them. And that is exactly what He did.
We who have so much, are called upon to share. Jesus made it clear that he expects us to feed the hungry and give water to the thirsty no matter how small and insignificant they may at first appear to us
Matthew 25:37-40 NIV “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
If we are unwilling to love everyone, we encounter in our spheres of influence then our highest ideals for humanity amount to nothing.
Matthew 25:41-46 NIV “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Serve a person in need, not for your own satisfaction or to serve a "cause" but because that person is a fellow human being loved by Christ. When we share what we have and know, Jesus blesses and multiplies it and makes it enough. So share what you have; it is all you can do. You cannot give what you do not have. Share what you have; no one else can give what only you have to give. Although what you have to share may not seem to be much or even enough, you never know what God will do when you give him what you have!