A phrase I often hear in my engineering world is “it is what it is.” Meaning, essentially, that we have no control over the issue under consideration and that we must simply work as best we can around it. Most of us can relate. On a daily basis, we encounter any number of problems, some of which we can solve ourselves or with the help of others.
Then there are those that fall under the “it is what it is” category. The power goes out all over the city. A storm rolls in. The internet goes out (I know…the horror). We can’t control these things so we work through our day, accomplishing what we can with the limitations handed to us.
On a larger scale, the same principle applies. As Christians, we look at the world around us and weep. Clearly, these are the days Paul describes in his letter to Timothy. Men are lovers of self, disobedient to parents, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, ungrateful, unoly, without self-control, brutal, seekers of pleasure. No one, not even an atheist, can honestly say that this is not an accurate description of our current society.
And the Christian also knows that Paul was referring to the Last Days when he wrote this passage. Now, we are given no clue as to how long these Last Days go on. And it’s probably a safe bet that we’ll never reverse this state of depravity. It takes great enough effort to keep ourselves from slipping into the same state.
It is this question of timing, however, that places us in the position we currently find ourselves. We keep one eye cast toward the world and the other on our daily efforts–the minimum requirements for living. In essence, we have to accept the daily horrors that flock our TV screens and computer monitors with an “it is what it is” mentality. Not meaning we’re not concerned, but accepting there’s little or nothing we can do to fix it.
Yes, things like going to little league games, planning vacations, even writing seem mundane and pointless at times. In our perspective of the world, they are. But the perspective we must take is that of God’s perspective. In His eyes, the little things are important. A kind gesture toward a stranger will not stop school shootings, but it will change something within that stranger. God does not measure our good deeds by volume. If we hand tracts out to a million people, it is given no greater weight than a in-depth conversation with one friend.
The things we have control over–who we speak to, what we watch, what we write–will not change the course of these “Last Days,” but to remain in a constant state of helplessness serves no one, and it certainly doesn’t serve our Lord.
Remember that Jesus spent as much time speaking to individuals like the woman at the well as He did speaking to hillsides of thousands of people. We, likewise, should place the same importance on our efforts, whether it involves a mission trip to Uganda or posting a blog about the love of Christ. It matters, just like the parable of the lost sheep or the story of the little boy throwing sand dollars back into the sea. It matters to the one.
Control what you can. Let “it is what it is” alone. Serve Him with what you have at your disposal here. Now. Be the good and faithful servant until the last trumpet.