I just finished weeping my way through the ending of Amazing Grace. It has been awhile since I first watched this wonderful, powerful movie about William Wilberforce’s fight to abolish the slave trade by the British. What an inspirational story of the difference one man can make in the world, especially a man of faith and passion.
At the end of the film, when Lord Charles Fox spoke the words I used in my title, saying that Wilberforce would go home that night [after years and years and years of fighting and striving] and lay his head on his pillow “and remember, the slave trade is no more,” it broke me.
Because the slave trade exists today, two hundred years later. It looks different than it did in the early 1800s, but it still exists. It broke me because human trafficking is a global issue. Because children and women, primarily, are being bought and sold and put into prostitution all around the world, not only in third world countries, but right here in America. It’s happening daily, hourly.
I learned today that 14 people in my church have been in training for many months to better understand the issues of human trafficking. Soon they will leave America to work in Bangkok among the prostitutes. I forget how long they will be there but this isn’t a short term missions trip.
I’m very blessed to be part of a local church body that is missional, a church that cares about social justice and so much more — and all of it done in light of the Gospel. This week, 39 young people are headed for Guatemala for two weeks to work at an orphanage. And the first of six to eight teams of volunteers are headed today for Iowa to help victims of the recent flooding (they’ll be gone 8 days, and upon their return, the next team will depart). And those are just some of our outreach ventures. Locally, our huge garden feeds the poor in the area. In fact, word of this garden has spread, and last week The 700 Club was here to film it to show what the church is doing.
We (me and you, if you’re a believer) are the church. We can make a difference in the world. We can make a difference in America. We are living in a time not unlike the world that the Apostles lived in, a world ignorant of the Gospel. When I was a child, even kids who never went to church could name some of the Ten Commandments. Even people who had no faith still understood many tenets of Christianity. That is no longer true. America may have been founded on Judeo-Christian ideals, but it is not a Christian nation. The world is in turmoil. People are afraid. The economy is shaky. Gas and food prices are skyrocketing. This is not a time for Christians to pull in. It is a time for us to reach out.
Father-God, I want to make a difference in this world. You have called me into a ministry of writing, and even while I seek to entertain those who read my books, would You also give me the words that will speak to hearts and bring about change? Challenge me and challenge my readers, readers of this blog and readers of my books, to break free of the status quo. Don’t let us settle for things as they are. Send Your Holy Spirit and light a fire in the hearts and minds of Your children. Remind us that You, Jesus, came to bring good news to the afflicted, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners. Give us hearts of compassion for the poor and the marginalized in our neighborhoods, our towns, our cities. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. Amen.
In the grip of His grace,