Author Ava Pennington
Author Ava Pennington
Be the Change

 

Be the Change

 

Our world is changing at breakneck speed. And most, if not all of us, have been affected in ways large and small.

Isolation due to a pandemic. Raw emotions in response to the ugliness of racism. Predictions of murder hornets, cicada invasions, and an above-average hurricane season. It all sounds like a low-budget action movie, except that it’s our reality.

So where does that leave us—especially those of us who claim to be Christians?

A familiar illustration involving a carrot, an egg, some coffee beans, and boiling water may have something to say to us in our current situation. Remember the story?

A daughter complains to her mother that no matter how hard she tries, life keeps knocking her down. Her mother leads her to the kitchen where she boiled water in three small pots. In one pot she placed a carrot. In another, she placed an egg. And in the third, she placed some coffee beans.

After a few minutes, she removed the carrot and the egg from the water. And she ladled some coffee into a bowl. Then she told her daughter, “All three of these items faced the adversity of the boiling water, but each had a different reaction. The carrot went in hard and came out soft and weak. The egg went in fragile with liquid insides and came out hard. But the coffee beans . . . the coffee beans changed the water into something better by releasing fragrance and flavor.”

How are you and I responding to the adversity of a world infected by both the physical coronavirus and the spiritual virus of racism?

Do we come out hard and bitter, angry at our circumstances and “those people” who disagree with us?

Do we come out soft and weak, fearful of circumstances and people we don’t know or understand?

Or do we come through like coffee beans, influencing and flavoring our environment—making it better because of our presence?

 

Stop Praying?

 

I mentioned in last week’s blog post that sin taints every member of the human race. And I’m the first to agree with calls to pray for our nation, our relationships, and ourselves.

But don’t stop there. Are you familiar with the passages in the Bible where God tells His people to stop praying?

  • In Exodus 14:13-15 (NIV), when the Israelites were trapped between the Egyptian army and the Red Sea, Moses told them to be still before the Lord and wait for His deliverance. But God told Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”
  • In Joshua 7:6-12 (NIV), after Israel’s massive defeat at Ai, Joshua spends an entire day praying to the Lord. God’s answer? “Stand up! What are you doing down on your face?”
  • And in Matthew 5:23-24, Jesus told His followers to interrupt their sacrifices to be reconciled with one who has something against them before they come to worship.

There’s a time for prayer and there’s a time to act. As Christians, it’s always time for us to pray. Prayer should be our first option, not our last resort. But it’s also time for us to stop using prayer as an excuse to stay silent, to not get involved. There’s a time for us to be the change our world needs . . . and that time is now. To be salt and light in a corrupt and dark world. To be even more fragrant than a cup of coffee—to be a “pleasing aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing” (II Corinthians 2:15 NIV).

Today, as you follow news reports of our current events, ask yourself:
Am I a carrot, an egg, or a coffee bean?”

How is God calling you to be the change by being salt and light in our broken world today?

 

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10 Comments

  1. Melissa Henderson

    What an inspiring message! I pray I will be like the coffee beans and share a wonderful aroma to make the world a better place.

  2. Jessica Brodie

    Great post and so encouraging. Yes, God does call us to act!

  3. Diane Buie

    I like this thought throughout your article, Ava; ” be the change.” The illustration of the carrot, egg and coffee beans is one I have never heard before. What imagery though when one reflects on your words.

  4. Stephen De La Vega

    Great illustration. I hadn’t heard it before. It just so happens that my favorite of the three is coffee, so I’m glad to purpose to be that coffee – to do my part to change the world. Oh, that I follow God’s prompting to do just that. Thank you for sharing this, Ava.

  5. Candice Brown

    This post needs to be shared far and wide. It is not enough to simply pray; we need to impact our world! Love this analogy; be the coffee bean!

  6. Anne Mackie Morelli

    Ava, I love this post! I love the image you shared about the carrot, egg and coffee beans. It is such a good illustration about how we must participate in God’s work and face adversity in a way that is glorifying to God. Rather than give up and expect him to move us out of the hard places, he calls us to partner with him in both prayer and action. Thanks for the inspirational post!

  7. David L. Winters

    That is the interesting part of being a follower of Jesus. When is it time to only pray and when is it time to speak up as well? I have been horrified by some of the behavior of police through the past few weeks, but also by the “protestors” who looted, rioted, and destroyed monuments. Helping the world separate right from wrong is a major responsibility of God’s people. Two wrongs don’t make a right. We must keep fighting for equal justice without abandoning the other principles of loving our neighbor as we love ourselves.

  8. Stephen Lewis

    Love it Love it! Especially the illustration. Definitely want to strive to be like the coffee being for sure. That’s one of my big focus is these past few weeks has been praying and leaning on the Lord for guidance comfort and to help clear my mind on the issues going on in the world thank you so much for your post sister it spoke volumes.

  9. Yvonne Morgan

    Great job Ava on finding such a way to encourage us in these hard times. We must be the example. Thanks

  10. Karen Friday

    Ava, I agree…there’s a time to pray AND a time to act. I pray we know the time for both during this pandemic and racial crisis.

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