Paul Hurkman spoke to our team last week about justice.
Paul is Executive Director of Venture. In 2012 he taught Becky and me the blueprint for doing a group bike tour, about shared sacrifice and doing what we love to benefit a cause bigger than ourselves.
He began with words written by another Paul:
“We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him!” – Romans 8:17 (The Message)
So following Jesus does not guarantee a life free from difficulty. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite. Following means we will certainly share with Him both the celebration and the struggle.
Struggle isn’t a bug, it’s a feature.
As we seek justice, we shouldn’t be surprised when sacrifice is required. Avoiding struggle, insisting on comfort and getting exactly what I want, doesn’t work. If we want the good times, we can’t dodge the tough times.
The more I hang out with Jesus, the more I realize that following Him isn’t about me and my short-term gratification. Maybe that sounds silly, but I’m a guy raised in USAmerica with its implicit belief in individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Jesus, I think, asks me to look through a more complex lens.
Justice – setting things right – means I’m never truly free as long as others remain in bondage. I know I can’t fix the world, but neither can I turn away and ignore injustice. Just like Jesus, I’m asked to obey, to do what I can and trust God for the result.