Do you ever get tired of hearing about all the struggles that so many people face in our world? One day, you hear that three in ten people don’t have access to good, safe water in their homes. That’s 2.1 billion people. The next day, you read that in Ghana, 36 percent of public schools lack toilet facilities. Then, you see a YouTube video highlighting the lack of electricity typical in many corners of the world, making it virtually impossible for vast numbers of people to enjoy so much of the modern way of life that is familiar to the rest of us. What do you think about when you are confronted with the reality of a struggling world?
When we are children, we are largely oblivious of the world around us. We have a small bubble of awareness that includes our family, our toys, our friend Timmy and our dog Rover. But as we grow older, we become aware of a larger world, and in that world, we see that some people have far fewer blessings than we do. We see a homeless man in a doorway when we’re riding down a city street. We see a woman with a cardboard sign asking for food at an intersection. And perhaps we drive through a part of town where the buildings look run-down, and we wonder about the people who live there. But it is hard to see what we can do to help—how we can make a difference.
As we grow yet older, we learn more about the breadth of humanity’s problems. We see pictures of refugees, starving children, and drought-afflicted villages. And we can feel overwhelmed by the scope of human suffering. We also learn from the prophecies of the Bible that mankind’s suffering will increase right before Christ’s return. We read Matthew 24, and see that Christ prophesied mankind would have a history of suffering and struggle, culminating in the greatest time of trouble man has ever known. And, again, we can feel overwhelmed. But should we just give up? Should we just say, “There’s nothing I can do, so I’ll just do nothing?”
What do we see in God’s word? Does He direct us to “give up” helping others? Not if we look at Christ’s example. In Luke 18:22–23, Jesus sought to teach a wealthy gentleman about priorities. He pointed the young man to consider the needy and turn to Him. Paul taught the Church to be generous and helpful to those in need, as we read in his words to the Galatians: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).
So, how can you “do good”? How can you make “good news”? What can you imagine and create that will bring help to others in need? Some of the best news today is about people who are using their creativity and ingenuity to make life better for those who need help the most.
Here’s an example of two people who made good news. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker are two South Africans who were concerned about the struggle many face to bring water to their homes. Every day, millions of people around the world spend a significant portion of their day carrying heavy containers of water on their heads from a village water source to their homes, sometimes kilometers away. The majority of these people are women. This duo had grown up on farms in rural areas, had seen this vexing problem and wanted to do some good. At first they tried to convert a 100-liter plastic barrel into a wheelbarrow, using the benefit of a low center of gravity to maximize the amount of water that could be moved. But the most expensive part of the project was the wheel. In a creative twist, they realized that the barrel itself could be the wheel!
The result? Today, their “Hippo Roller” is used in over 20 countries, and 50,000 blue “Hippo Roller” barrels roll down dusty roads in villages from Africa to South America. How beneficial is this? Consider the scope of the problem. According to WaterAid, a charity that works to improve access to water and better hygiene and sanitation, one in nine people in our world do not have access to water close to home—more than 800 million people, based on the world’s current population. When you consider the time and energy spent walking miles every day to obtain water for drinking, sanitation and gardening, the extent of the challenge becomes more clear. At the same time, good solutions that help to overcome this challenge become even more exciting.
Other innovative ways to collect, move and use water are equally promising. On mountaintops in Chile, villagers have installed nets to collect water from mist, alleviating local drought conditions and providing thousands of gallons of water every year. Other creative inventors have developed the “LifeStraw,” a simple handheld device enabling millions to filter water for drinking.
But the needs of many who are suffering go beyond water. For example, Jessica Matthews experienced the reality of living without consistent electricity when she visited her family in Nigeria. Challenged in a college course to address a key problem in developing countries, she and three other students invented the “Soccket”—a soccer ball that produces electricity! It’s only an ounce heavier than an ordinary soccer ball, but inside it carries a pendulum that captures the kinetic energy that is generated as the ball is kicked and moves around. This drives a motor, which charges a battery. One hour of play produces enough energy to power an LED lamp for three hours!
Jessica didn’t stop there. She also developed a jump rope that produces four times the power of a “Soccket,” using the kinetic energy from the rope’s rotations.
The point is this: If you dream of a way to help others, through service or creative inventions, there are plenty of ways to “make good news” today! Many of us will never invent a new technology, but in a world of darkness, unhappiness and suffering, simply providing a helping hand reflects a good and godly mindset. Christ’s compassionate mindset motivated Him to heal the sick and encourage the poor.
Even more exciting is this: Our future will be full of “making good news.” The very best news we can give today is that Christ will return to our war-torn, poverty-ridden world. He will establish His Kingdom. And when that time arrives, each day will be full of more good news. The prophet Isaiah was inspired to write of that time, that “the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). That knowledge will include an understanding of every facet of how our environment works. We will show how to make our world into a Garden of Eden, with abundant water, proper sanitation and the power needed to build a godly, productive civilization. We’ll be able to develop creative solutions to daily challenges. Making good news will become a way of life.