( First published April 11, 2016)
In one of his letters, Paul tells the readers to think about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.
It’s a nice list. But many of us struggle with application.
I want to suggest that when Paul talks about focusing on what is right, he’s talking, in part, about justice. The justice of keeping your word. The justice of responding to human needs .
So, practically, what does it look like to think about what is right?
That question was on my mind when I was heading to coffee with a friend.
When my friend and I started talking about the best thing to do with money, now that he has some, I started thinking about investments. Rather than thinking about how much to give to God, rather than worrying about whether there will be enough, or how much to save for retirement, what about investing in the lives of people?
What if all you did in your life was to put a well in a town in Africa? You translate your productive time into money, which is used to dig a well so others don’t spend all their time getting water and can make money themselves And, for a generation, you stop a majority of the rapes that happen while women walk to the water holes in other towns and the diseases that sicken children.
Or, what if you decided to fund the support of 22 kids in an orphanage in India for a year? Kids who were born in brothels to mothers who were working there. To do that, you plan a bicycle ride with a team of other riders.
These projects take time thinking about what is right. They involve investing time praying, time figuring out how to set money aside, time studying the countries and the organizations and the technology. They involve looking outside our lives. They are productive examples of what we can do with the time we used to spend on worry.