That was when I remembered some pictures I took in Africa during a missions trip there earlier this year. I think this one sums up my point nicely.
But that picture has come to mean something else to me, something much deeper. In fact, I have had this picture as my computer wallpaper for months at a time. Why?
Because this picture shows the real world. Not the world of honeyed lives, sweetened church services, and luxurious life styles that we've come to consider the norm here in America. No, this picture is a cold hard look at reality, a reality that comes flooding back to my memory every time I look at this picture.
When I go back and look at this picture, it reminds me of what I saw in Africa, the good and the bad. The passion of the church. The depth of the poverty. The girl too sick to move without medical attention. The children with stomachs bloated with hunger. The young woman who had never heard the name of Jesus spoken before.
That, my teenage friends, is the real world. That's the world Jesus calls us to live in, to impact. I'm not saying you have to get up and go to Africa. But I'm calling you, I'm begging you to live your life for more, more than just the temporal. More than just the fleeting, passing moment that is your life here. More than text messages and social media. More than cultural Christianity and an American God.
I'm begging you. See the world through the eyes of Jesus. Take a step back, and look at the world through the eyes of your Father. Examine the world today through the eyes of a God who loves people, Americans, Africans, Orientals, everyone, and desires the salvation of all.
It's a lot easier to continue to see the world through the screen of your iPhone or the lens of public opinion. It's maybe easier to look at the world through the cold, stoic eyes of a politician who looks only to address the outward problems. But God calls us to look at souls the way He looks at souls; each one is precious. The real world is full of suffering people without hope in this world. And the real world needs Jesus.
So I'm asking you. Pick up the baton and start showing the love of Jesus Christ where you are today, with that annoying younger sibling or that authoritarian teacher. Christians are called to a higher calling; a calling to see the world through Jesus' eyes. To love as He loved. To give as He gave. To care as He cared. To sacrifice as He sacrificed.
The real world isn't the soft, honeyed life we'd like to believe it is. The real world is a harsh place in need of a beautiful Savior. And that Savior has tasked us with making Him famous throughout the earth, both in our neighborhoods and schools, to our cities, to our states, to our countries, and ultimately to the world.