Facing the world's five giants!
by Rick and Kay Warren
The world is full of problems. Some are small and some are huge. As Kay and I considered the problems facing the world today, we concluded there are five giants -- five pervasive problems that affect billions of people.
These are the ones we want to tackle, believing God gets the most glory when we attack the biggest giants. These problems are so huge that they can only be addressed with total dependence on God and with all of us -- your congregation and mine, Christians all around the world -- working together to confront them.
Here are the giant problems, as we see them:
1. The first global giant is spiritual darkness.
Here’s a startling truth: Billions of people have never even heard the name of Jesus Christ. Three thousand distinct people groups around our world wouldn’t even know the name of Jesus if they heard it.
“Who is that?” they’d ask. “What’s so significant about that name?”
These people know nothing about Jesus or about God. If you were one of those who had never heard the name of Jesus, wouldn’t you want somebody to come tell you about our Savior, our Lord? The Bible says in Romans 10:14 (NCV), “Before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him; and before they can believe in him, they must hear about him; and for them to hear about the Lord, someone must tell them.”
The greatest giant in our world today is the fact that billions of people do not know Jesus Christ.
2. The second giant we want to tackle is the lack of servant leaders around the world.
Around the world, there are plenty of people in leadership who abuse their power. Many refuse to use their power for the good of their people -- instead they choose to use it for themselves. This has created chaos in the world.
Leaders must have moral basis. They must have wisdom. Proverbs 11:14 (NLT) says, “Without wise leadership, a nation falls.” Proverbs 16:12b (Msg) says, “Sound leadership has a moral foundation.” And Zechariah 10:2 (TEV) says, “People wander around like lost sheep. They are in trouble because they have no leader.”
In the developing world there are 2.1 million pastors and church leaders. Of those, 1.9 million have never had any training at all. Not only have these leaders not gone to seminary or Bible school, they haven’t even gone to high school or primary school. They have no training whatsoever -- and yet they lead the church. This must be remedied.
3. The third giant we’re going after is poverty.
More than half of the world -- that’s three billion people -- live on less than two dollars a day. One-sixth of the world’s population lives in slums. Those are heart-breaking statistics. Proverbs 28:7 (NIV) says, “The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.”
It’s easy to live in a bubble and think the rest of the world lives like we do. When we go about our daily lives forgetting how most of the world lives, we tend to judge people for being poor. Job 12:5 (GW) says, “A person who has an easy life [that would be you and me] has no appreciation for misfortune. He thinks it is the fate of those who slip up.”
Tell that to the parents of 10 million little girls who’ve been sold into prostitution in Southeast Asia. Their families exist in such grinding poverty they see no other way to feed their families than to sell their little girls into prostitution. It’s a horrible existence.
4. The fourth giant we want to attack is disease.
Billions suffer the effects of famine and drought. They are homeless, hungry, and helpless. They’re ill. We can do something about that.
Psalm 38:6-11 (GW) says, “I am bent over and bowed down very low. ... My insides are filled with burning pain, and no healthy spot is left on my body. I am numb and completely devastated. ... I’ve lost my strength. Even the light of my eyes has left me. My loved ones and my friends keep their distance and my relatives stand far away because of my sickness.”
We have seen the effects of poverty as we've traveled. We’ve seen the effects of people with HIV/AIDS. The stigma is enormous. People are abandoned by their own families. Their bodies slowly waste away from opportunistic infections. As Christians we cannot ignore these people.
Ezekiel 34:4 (TEV) says, “You have not taken care of the weak ones, healed the ones that are sick, bandaged the ones that are hurt, brought back the ones that wandered off, or looked for the ones that were lost. Instead, you treated them cruelly.”
5. The fifth giant we want to tackle is ignorance.
Over half the world is still illiterate. How can a country grow and be strong economically when its citizens can’t read, can’t write, and don’t know the fundamentals of math and science that we take for granted? It’s no wonder these countries aren’t strong. Hosea 4:6 (NIV) says, “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.” There’s a desperate need for teachers and schools and materials to help people grow.
These five giants can be toppled. We can make a difference. In a future issue, we'll talk about why the church is the perfect tool for toppling giants.