It spurred William Wilberforce, subsequent to his conversion, to dedicate the rest of his life to the abolition of slavery in the eighteenth century.
It was the command that William Booth gave his son, Bramwell, upon seeing homeless men huddled under a London bridge in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
It inspired Bob Geldof to organise Live Aid in 1985 after watching a BBC documentary on the famine in Ethiopia the previous year.
In 2007, it drove Michael Smith, sickened by the violence and destruction he witnessed daily as a policeman, to start Word 4 Weapons which, to date, has seen 10, 000 weapons handed in to collecting bins supplied by The Salvation Army.
The compulsion to ‘do something’ springs from the very heart of God – He, who…
has told you... what is good...
has told you what he wants from you:
to do what is right to other people,
love being kind to others,
and live humbly, obeying your God
(Micah 6:8 New Century Version)
God’s word is filled with such injunctions for us to reject indifference and inaction as responses to need. From Abraham’s intervention in Lot’s troubles when he could have been enjoying the land, through the prophets’ clear proclamation of a God less interested in creeds than in deeds – of mercy and justice, to Jesus, moved with compassion into action, and on into the Church Age, where, from its earliest beginnings, we see the Church appointing leaders especially to ‘do something’. A continuous line of grace being communicated through actions, throughout humankind’s history we see the hand of God ‘doing something’.
Doing something in the face of need should be as natural to the disciple of Jesus as participating in prayer, fellowship, worship and witness. Those first disciples would have recalled their own perplexity the day they stood alongside their master at the end of a long day of ministry, worrying about the hungry needs of thousands (John 6:5-13). Their perplexity arose from the size of the problem – it seemed insurmountable - and the Master’s clear expectation that they should do something about it – it seemed impossible. They learnt that day that, if they did what they could, gave what they had and obeyed as instructed, Jesus would bless their efforts, abundantly!
Children of the Central North Division have been inspirational in grasping this strong correlation between discipleship and doing something. Taken on a discipling course, they soon made the connection between their discipleship and doing something for people in need. The result is the amazing Change4Change project they have started to help trafficked children in Malawi.
The Children’s Ministries Unit at THQ recently hosted these fine Salvationist young people when they enjoyed a trip to London, which included a visit to my office. What a joy to meet such enthusiasm! We were able to rejoice over the phenomenal amount of money they have raised already.
These young people have not let the enormity of the problem intimidate them. They’ve done something about it which will make a difference. Thereby, they join a long line – a line which starts at the Throne of Mercy and reaches across the ages and all around the world as people understanding the heart of a just and merciful God go out and do something. All of those referenced – Wilberforce, Booth, Geldof, Smith and these intrepid Salvationist young people - faced challenges too large for them to tackle, but, undaunted, they did tackle them, overcame them and made a difference. They were not overwhelmed, they did something!
There’s more than enough need to go around. Which begs the question: What can you do?