Global Connect Training: Session 2


“I want to make a difference in the world”— It is almost a cliché phrase. Yet, it speaks to a feeling that a lot of people have. That is, many times it just doesn’t seem that all is right with the world. We see it all around — injustice appears to win the day, some people don’t have enough to eat, curable diseases end lives too quickly. The problem is accentuated or at least accelerated in an increasingly connected world. Daily, we see images and hear stories of tragedies from Missouri to Mozambique.

The reality of an increasingly globalized world is interesting. Air travel sends us around the globe at the most inexpensive rates in history. Technology platforms provide fast and cheap communication. And, in many ways, trade and goods have crossed borders more than people as international tariffs have relaxed to increase a global flow of goods. The world is increasingly connected.

Someone once asked Jesus what is the most important thing — what should one do above all else. His reply: Love God and love your neighbor. Another person asked Jesus and pressed — “but who is my neighbor?” Jesus said this, “there was a man who traveling who was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw, him he angled across to the other side. Then a religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man. Then, a foreign man traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, bandaged his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out money and gave it to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’”

Jesus asked, “What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”

“The one who treated him kindly,” the man responded.

Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”

The same question applies to us. Who is our neighbor? In a global world our neighbor is down the street, but is our neighbor also the person who helped make the clothes we wear, the food we eat? Is our neighbor the one we share friends with on Facebook? Do we angle to get to the other side of the road pretending we do not see certain things?

We are starting to wade into some waters about belief. Christians have always asserted some fundamental convictions that apply here. We have already discussed the first: Christians have said that it doesn’t seem that all is right in the world. Words like “fallen” “broken” “disconnected” have been used but whatever the word, followers of Jesus have strained to say that in places it doesn’t seem like all of this is right. It is not right that some live in abject poverty while others have so much, it is not right that an individual has to experience deep pain because of the actions of others, sickness and death — it all just doesn’t seem ultimately, satisfyingly right.

In the following breath, however, Christians also assert — “but God is involved.” God is involved — dynamically, personally, intimately. So much so that God, in the person of Jesus, took on the brokenness of the world and destroyed the power of death. Now putting all of the metaphysical, philosophical questions to the side for just a moment, let’s stand back and just consider that down-in-the-gut-belief. Do we feel the same? Do we also think that there are things in the world that just aren’t quite right? Second, do we think God cares?

If God cares and is involved, that changes everything. The psalmist said that God knew you as you were knit in your mother’s womb. Jesus calls us friends. The opening pages of the Bible confidently proclaim that every person has value, worth, and inherent dignity because we are all made in the image of God.

This is a different perspective with which to view the problems of the world. Yes, things are not always going well; no injustice has not been finally beaten. But we have hope. We believe that God is at work in the devastating image that appeared on our phone’s news app. That God is sitting with that family who doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring. That God is involved. And because God is involved, we can be involved, too.

Over the course of the next couple of sessions, we will expand on this theme. What we are really is saying is that at the root of it all, our action in the world is based on relationship — our relationship with God and our relationship with others. We call this series Global Connect in an attempt to demonstrate this conviction. Yet, we might just have easily called this “Becoming neighbors” to borrow Jesus’ phrase.

Before moving to the next session, spend some moments thinking and reflecting on these things. What do you believe? What motivates you for wanting to make a difference in the world? Have you ever thought about why so many people “want to make a difference in the world”? Maybe we all really want to see the world be a better place. And maybe we actually can be a part of that project — Jesus seemed to think so. “Go and do the same.”


Discussion Questions

Click here to view the discussion questions for all sessions in PDF format.
  1. What do you think people mean when they say they want to make a difference in the world?
  2. Why is it sometimes difficult to make a difference?
  3. Read Luke 10:25-37. What sticks out to you about this story?
  4. A fundamental belief among Methodists is that God is already at work in the world AND that mission is from everywhere to everywhere. Are these values represented in this scripture? If so, how?
  5. What do you think of these fundamental Christian beliefs? Do you think God is at work in the world?
  6. What motivates you for wanting to make a difference in the world?

View Session Three of the Global Connect Training