Sometimes the sheer volume of troublesome news accumulates in my consciousness to the point that I find myself feeling hopeless, or angry, or powerless, or defeated, or all of the above.
Just think about it:
Unchecked Ebola in Africa while the world watches but does little to help.
ISIS terrorists threatening to bring their evil ways to our cities and drawing the world into yet an-other conflict.
Religious groups and political parties who refuse to practice civil dialogue and mutual respect.
Homegrown terrorists who slay police officers, attack innocent citizens, shoot classmates, mur-der co-workers.
Racial unrest in Ferguson and sometimes closer to home.
Identity theft and computer hacking.
Conflict among church members who have yet to master the “Golden Rule”.
I could go on and on. When I get these apocalyptic thoughts and scary feelings, I try to remind my-self of two things. First, the only person that I have the absolute power to change is myself. Sec-ond, I am a Christian, a follower of Jesus who is the Prince of Peace.
Here is how I try to make sense out of this senseless slide into chaos and reclaim a sense of pur-pose and power in my life. Do you remember the hymn, “Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin with me?”
While I can’t cure all disease, I can try to live in healthy ways and encourage others to do the same.
While I can’t confront international terrorism, I can stand up to inappropriate behaviors, defend those who are bullied and encourage dialogue between those who are estranged from one another.
While I can’t wipe out racism, I can work to dismantle it when I encounter racist behaviors or sys-tems in my daily life.
While I can’t stop electronic thievery, I can be honest in all of my business dealings.
While I can’t finance everything needed to ensure peace, I can give generously to the church and organizations that are making a difference in the world.
All of this has to do with the stewardship of our lives. How do I manage the gift of life that God has given to me? How do I manage the treasures of time, talent and money in order to bring peace to my family, my church, my friends, my community? During the fall season of stewardship, I encour-age you to ask these same questions of yourself.
The hymn ends: “Let this be my solemn vow./ To take each moment/ And live each moment/ In peace eternally./ Let there be peace on earth/ And let it begin with me.
Trust in God, Pastor Thom