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Is there a problem you want to see solved? Is there a difference you want to see made? Sometimes the best contribution you can make to solving a problem is to put yourself in it. The etymology of the word contribution is “to pay together”, which in essence means entering a situation by offering something of your own, making personal sacrifice.

We love to offer arm-chair solutions. We are good at fixing things by decree. “This or that is wrong. If only this were so or they would only, all would be right—voilà.” But nothing just happened.

The daring drama of Christianity is the way God entered the problem. This is expressed in one of my favorite novels, Byzantium: “This is the heart of the great mystery: that God became man, shouldering the weight of suffering so that on the final day none could say, `Who are you to judge the world? What do you know of injustice? What do you know of torture, sickness, poverty? How dare you call yourself a righteous God! What do you know of death?’ He knows.”

People often doubt our authenticity because we have not put ourselves in the problem. The example of Jesus was to enter the problem. Max Depree said, “Leaders don’t inflict pain, they share pain.” We often mistake our proclamations for contributions. We love to issue statements, but not make sacrifice.

Personal sacrifice is one of the hardest things to argue against. Want to get people’s ear? Want more to join in? Want to silence some naysayers? Figure out a way to more of your own skin in the game.

Title Signature Screenshot Cartoon 2015

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