Keep Caring & Carry OnDave Mance - 17 Jun 2016
“I rediscovered that prayer both moves us & empowers us to act…”
When I switched from working at an ad agency to working for a Christian human rights organisation, I quickly discovered three things: the meetings no longer had fancy biscuits; I wasn’t the biggest lightweight at post-work drinks, and - perhaps most shockingly of all - I have emotions.
My cosseted, coddled existence thus far meant I found it pretty overwhelming to be surrounded daily by stories of people imprisoned, beaten and even killed just for what they believe.
So I came up with a brilliant idea: to stop caring.
I’ve often found it easier that way, quickly scrolling past the upsetting news story to get onto the next cat video. So I blocked out the bad stuff as much as possible, skim-reading the reports our team handed me on countries like Eritrea, Burma and Syria.
Which brings me onto refugees. A crisis so mind-bogglingly huge and relentless that I suspect many of us, frankly, find it hard to keep caring.
And the fact is, we can’t care all the time. Our survival instinct compartmentalises that stuff in a clever way that means we can keep functioning despite being aware of horrible suffering.
But nor can we stop caring completely. French writer Nicolas Chamfort had it right when he wrote, at his death, “And so I leave this world where the heart must either break or turn to lead.”
It was prayer that did for my plan and broke my heart again.
Our office spends a half hour in prayer every morning, where I had no choice but to engage with God on some of these stories. And I rediscovered that prayer both moves us and empowers us to act.
So here’s a thing. Well, actually, five small things:
Next week at Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), we’re sharing 5 Simple Acts for Refugee Week. One small thing you can do each day, from signing a petition to sending a tweet. Because a great way to keep caring, when what you really what to do is give in to cynicism and hopelessness, is to just keep taking little steps.
Doing great things for God is obviously great. But, God often seems more interested in the little things we can offer. The two mites in the offering bucket. The packed lunch of small loaves and fish. The little we can give that is worship.
Together let’s do small exploits for God.
CSW are also featured on our Pick A Fight pages this week. Pray and fight for a better world: 24-7prayer.com/pickafight