Spiritual Trivial Pursuit

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To listen to today’s reflection as a podcast, click here.

A number of years ago, author and sociologist Tony Campolo was a keynote speaker at a world missions conference in the Midwest.
The audience included more than 10,000 collegians and twenty-somethings who had gathered to hear inspiring calls to change the world.
Campolo stood at the platform and shouted, “Isn’t this conference great?”  A huge cheer went up from the crowd.
“Wasn’t that an incredible program last night?”  Even louder cheers.
Then Campolo said, “Do you realize that within the past 24 hours at least 30,000 children have died of starvation and preventable diseases, but I bet most of you don’t give a —-?”  And here he used a strong expletive. 
The crowd was stunned.
“And I’m also willing to bet that most of you right now are more outraged that I just used that word, rather than the fact that 30,000 children have died during the past 24 hours.”
Silence fell on the arena.
People who claim to follow Jesus can be exasperating.  We’re so good at playing Spiritual Trivial Pursuit – arguing over how much water it takes to be properly baptized, even while millions of people will go to bed hungry tonight.  We speculate as to whether sexually broken people can go to heaven, but fail to plot strategies to bless those same people with compassion. 
We feel shocked when we hear conference speakers use expletives, but somehow miss the significance that there are more hospitals for pets in the greater Chicago area than there are hospitals for people in the entire continent of Africa.
Campolo would be the first to assert that what happens next matters most.
Should we feel guilt?  Apathy?  Resentment?  Hopelessness? 
Campolo would counsel resolve – a personal resolve that is born of the hope we have in Christ, expressed in a prayer that we can choose to make our own:
Lord, break my heart with the things that break Yours.  And beginning right where I am right now, use my life to help heal this broken world.  For Christ’s sake, Amen.