Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Being Nuru at South Ridge Church

Last Sunday, I made the drive down the highway to Fairmont, WV where I was invited to speak at South Ridge Church, where my good friend Seth Broadhurst serves as the senior pastor. Seth and I have been friends for a long time, and I can remember him coming into a pretty awesome community at Chestnut Ridge Church in the year 2000. Seth and I became friends and running buddies almost immediately, and although I don't believe either of us run as much anymore, the friendship is still incredibly strong.

Earlier this summer, Seth told me about an idea he had for his church's Mission Sunday in which I might be able to share and encourage his congregation to "Be Nuru" or "Be Light" in their daily lives. Seth told me that he likes to have people come in who are working in their lives to serve others, and that he rally enjoys the fresh perspective of having someone else share with the faith community of South Ridge Church.

So I shared a passage from the gospel of John about the state of our world. Sometimes we want to try to come up with a quick quote that mitigates our responsibility in the middle of a broken world. We say things like, "It's probably becaues of that person's sin, or their parent's sin that their life is so messed up." To say something like this is callous and unloving, to say the least. But people said similar things in Jesus' day as well. Jesus responds to these ideas with this, "It is neither that this person has sinned or his parents that he suffers, but rather that the works of God might be displayed in him." He continues to say, "We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work."

Now what does this mean? It means that perhaps the real answer to some of the problems in our world lies with our God given gifts and talents. Jesus says in another passage that we are "The light of the world, and then warns us not to hide this light.

When I think about the hurts of our world, I feel like there are people who can fall into three camps. Those who passively accept the world as it is, those who complain but do nothing, and those who take decisive action and work toward improving the world. It is my hope that I fall into the last category, but very often I probably fall into the other two. It's my hope that YOU fall into the last category as well, but it is so easy to get drawn into the other two for all of us.

But there is a changing tide. There is a trend in our world where more and more people are saying "Enough is enough" and they are beginning to use their time, talents, and resources to benefit others. Multi-billionaire Warren Buffett has recently pledged to give away 99% of his wealth toward serving the public good by the time of his death. Nearly one million high school and college students lobbied congress to bring about the end of what has been called "Africa's longest running civil war."

With a willingness to stand up and make a difference, it is amazing what one can accomplish. Less than two years ago, the organization I work for started it's first project in Kuria, Kenya. In less than two years, 75% of the initial community has bought in to Nuru's programs and many Kurians are now living with choices and opportunities they have never known or experienced before. All because of a growing number of people here in the United States who are saying, "I Am Nuru," and taking action in the fight to end extreme poverty.

There are others working tirelessly to end similar injustices globally and locally. The point of my message, and the point of this blog isn't to say that you should support Nuru's efforts. Rather, it's to say that you should begin to light your world, your neighborhood, your home, by doing something with the time, talents, and resources with which you have been equipped. There is soooo much that can be done just by choosing to be present at home and at work. Be the best spouse or child that you can be. Be active in care for your neighbors both locally and globally. Seek not your own self-interests, but rather care for your fellow human being.

It was an honor to share with the folks at South Ridge Church this weekend, and it's an honor to share with you today. May you be hope and light in your interactions today and every day.


young wife&mom said...

it was a joy to hear you speak and see you too, OLD friend:)
thanks for being NURU.

chanchanchepon said...

Thank you for being Nuru as well!