A Dangerous Problem
Many of us spend time criticizing problems in society at large around us on a daily basis. Quite frankly, it is a good aspect of life to be able to see problems which occur and try to bring solutions to the table. Far too often, however, many people aim criticisms without taking steps to fix issues or think through solutions. Our trouble is that we can tend to view the problems as needing to be tackled in a top-down manner. When we hear about some crisis circumstance we think our Senators or the President should be the ones to handle whatever is happening. Indeed, there are times when this action needs to take place. What if we as human beings automatically thought about what we could do in these moments?
When there was a health crisis rising in the nation, what if we thought about how we can build our immune systems stronger naturally in order to better protect our bodies? If an economic crisis hits, what if the citizenship had each taken responsibility for their own finances and saved ahead of time? How about a time of rioting in the streets? Suppose that every citizen in America had taken the initiative to know how to defend themselves, would violent rioters operating illegally be able to wreak havoc on cities in that situation? My point is not to say that government intervention is never necessary. Rather, I am driving at the truth that out first response should not always be to look at big solutions which most of us cannot control as the answer for every problem. We should examine the small and basic aspects of life to keep those under control thereby equipping ourselves for handling bigger issues as they arise.
When thinking about our life it is important to have the smaller aspects of it nailed down before you are ready to handle the larger ones. How can a professional athlete learn to perform in the clutch moment unless they first take care of their body to be durable enough to even be able to play in that final second of the game? What about a student? How can they be able to ace the final exam unless they first create a thorough plan of study and focus on gaining knowledge? What about the auto mechanic who fixes your car? How are you going to get to work unless he keeps his tools clean to be able to change the oil in your vehicle when you need it? All of these smaller components work up to a person being prepared for the larger goals and challenges ahead. Perhaps life is not composed so much of one big event followed by another, as it is one infinitely small detail stacked upon another.
Consequently, one of the greatest things any human being can do is to focus upon the small details of their life and perform them with excellence. When it comes to family, the purposeful investment of daily time will cultivate the long-term relationships you are desiring. Good friendships are built not so much by the memorable vacations as by the regular checking to see how someone is doing and to care for them. Political movements are not normally started by a major event, but rather by a culmination of small events leading to the notable spark which ignites the fire into full flame. Spiritual reformation typically does not come from one sermon, but by the consistent preaching of the Word week in and week out for decades. A 4.0 GPA is not gained solely by a perfect exam at the end of an academic degree plan, rather, it is the continual grind that focuses upon excellence in each exam over years.
The Difficulty of This Approach
Intriguingly, Christ encourages us to focus on today and not to be worried about the future:
Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. -Matthew 6:34
If it is true that the most productive and God-honoring way to live is to focus on the small details and handle the problems of today, then why do we struggle to live this way? Ultimately, it is because the distraction of the “big things” is easier to focus upon than the seeming insignificance of the “small things.” A conversation with a friend discussing the issues with the big-name politicians is convenient. However, arranging a meeting with a local politician to go to lunch and talk over issues and how you can help takes more effort and thought process. The difficulty is not that the needed steps are impossible to accomplish, it is that we must be disciplined in order to achieve them.
Should you stay aware of the big problems? Absolutely! Is it possible that scenarios arise where action from the biggest leaders is needed? Most certainly! However, is it healthy and productive to always seek these steps first? I would contend it is not. Let us then seek to use every minute of time for the best purposes. May we seek practical steps to get involved in fixing problems around us in our local communities. If every single person took these basic steps to control what they could, then individuals, families, churches, and countries would be drastically different. Let the change start with you and I!