Go green. KONY 2012. For just pennies a day.

We are surrounded by agendas – good and bad – every moment of our lives. I would say even more so on a college campus, where organizations have “converts” so easily at their fingertips. I know it’s hard to walk through the Pentacrest without getting a flyer put in my face.

Don’t get me wrong. I find it amazing how God has given us individual passions to change the world and our communities. Without those passions, we’d just be apathetic, lazy bums.

But when does it become too much? When does “save the whales!” and “vote YES to the pool tax!” become overplayed? With so many slogans and organizations to choose from, how do we not become numb to the real people, the real hurt, behind the words and logos?

I read something the other day that really convicted me. It was a blog post about how God is not a member of a particular political party or nonprofit organization. God is for people. God is for us.

Period.

biking in Iowa

Biking in beautiful Iowa!

Choosing Our Battles

Over the years, I have been on a journey to make my actions more environmentally friendly (whatever that means). I’ve chosen organic and local, planted a garden, started composting, and gotten into “commuter cycling”. I even do some canning, for heaven’s sake.

For a long time, it was hard for me to understand how others could not be doing what I’m trying to do. Don’t you care about the planet God has given us? Don’t you realize that environmental problems are the root cause of many other problems such as war and hunger?

On the other hand, I myself have been introduced to many organizations that I don’t give a rip about. Sure, they are noble. Sure, they are just. But what’s the motive? Is God in it?

The post that I read talked about putting people first. Our primary desire for each day should be to reach our neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and loved ones for Jesus.

Matthew 22: 37-39 says,

And he said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'”

While I do believe that God cares about the organizations we are a part of (Why would he want us to destroy his planet? He doesn’t want anyone to have cancer!) and would not have given us those interests if not, it can become dangerous when we use our faith as the main support of those actions.

Billboard Jesus

“Bong hits for Jesus.” “God hates fags.” “Pro-life, pro-God, pro-gun.”

I’m sure those phrases evoke some sort of emotion in most of you, whether it’s anger, amusement, or sadness. They are just a few examples of how individuals and organizations have used Christianity and the name of Jesus as the face of their endeavors; although they may have had good intentions, it just didn’t work.

Let’s go back about two thousand years ago, when Jesus was a living, breathing man, walking around on this earth.

The Jews of the time did the same exact thing that many of us try to do today. They used Jesus as a poster boy for their own, political agenda.

King of the Jews. The Messiah.

While Jesus did come to rescue his people, he did not intend to do so by force. He would not rule on earth, as many of his followers expected him to do (Mark 10:35-37). He would not put together an army to destroy Rome and save Israel from oppression.

Jesus came to die for our sins. He was not interested in how others perceived him. He most certainly did not want to be elevated to some sort of icon for the Jewish people (John 6:15).

Neither does he want that today.

I think the most important thing we can focus on is modeling our lives after Jesus. Everything else comes second. Am I saying to burn your org t-shirts? No. Pull your monthly donations to WWF? Nope. I just think that if our hearts are burning stronger for any other agenda besides Jesus’, then something is wrong.

Take a moment to re-evaluate your passions, goals and priorities. I know that I have. Whatever I do, I want God to be first.

Period.

– Shianne Gruss

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