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Working on Problems that Matter

We all work on problems, but how many of them really matter? That is to say, a problem that matters to God.  Many of us have problems that don’t matter to anyone other than ourselves. For example, the problem of finding a video game that is more stimulating than the last one. Or the problem…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

We all work on problems, but how many of them really matter? That is to say, a problem that matters to God. 

Many of us have problems that don’t matter to anyone other than ourselves. For example, the problem of finding a video game that is more stimulating than the last one. Or the problem of trying to lower your golf handicap. 

Martin Luther King worked on a problem that mattered, the systemic oppression of an entire race of people. We have the opportunity to follow his lead and work on problems that matter. Here are a few:

Widows who are distressed

Orphans needing love

Young people who feel like orphans

Poor people needing food and water

Oppressed people needing freedom

Young girls caught in the sex trade

Sick people needing healing

People of all stripes needing Jesus

Lonely people needing community

Young people needing discipleship

We need better problems, problems that matter. How much time do we spend thinking about and working on problems that matter?

We can put our problems in perspective. We do that by coming into contact with the problems of other people. If we don’t see their problems, we can’t know how small our problems may be.

What problems are you currently working on? 

Comments (5)

  • This was so timely to read. David and I are looking into 501 3c status for our ministry Flourish & Thrive, and as we define our purpose, just about everything you mentioned overlaps with what we are doing with aging out orphans in one of the poorest countries of the world. The only one that doesn’t directly fit is in regards to distressed widows, but even there, we envision our live-in college providing employment for widows. So my friend, thank you for this, because I was truly feeling overwhelmed regarding what we have to do paperwork-wise if we go the 501-3c route, and these purposes you mentioned reminded me that it is worth the work.

  • Melinda – Of course you have been spending your whole life on problems that matter! I pray that you don’t have to spend time working on administrative details, but can partner with those who can free you up to do what God has gifted and called you to do!

  • Seth thanks for this blog! Sometimes I have to stop and remember that my problems are often small in comparison to the world around me. I realized that in Swaziland last spring…we became very familiar with the term “first world problems”….coming home and being stuck in Dallas for a day and a half and not getting home when we wanted to, at first seemed like a real problem…but after a few minutes of being mad…I stopped myself and said to my husband…this is not a real problem.

    I do have problems in my life that I do feel matter though. My daughters, as you may know. One has walked away from her faith and that terrifies me, its a real problem as so many have done so before her and will do after her. College years and young adult years are tough and I know we have all seen kids wonder, sometimes in the very wrong direction as my daughter has. Its a problem!

    Then to my oldest…Alum racer. She has been home just about 3 months. She is longing for and not finding community like she had on the race. She fought it at first, but her first team have an amazing bond and started hating each other, to loving each other deeply. Meeting each other right where they were and choosing to fight for each other and choosing each other. My daughter has always wanted to be chosen, fought for, and loved without condition by her peers. She found that on the race, but too quickly that year ended and life back home is not the same. I believe she is grieving a loss of community and not finding it back home.

    Its a problem that I can’t fix, one I can’t control, one I have given to the Lord and prayed for Him to open those doors for her.

  • I am a teacher teaching in the slums ,when I teach the poor ,the orphans, the widows and the young people who do not have jobs I FEEL DEPRESSED AND UNHAPPY OF THEIR PROBLEMS.I look at myself sharing the same problem which the poor,the orpans and the young people in the slums of kibera Kenya are facing.I ask God to open doors so that this people can be helped.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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