Every spring after the snow melts an ugly roadside scene emerges. All of the discarded trash and debris tossed and lost from automobiles and trucks over the winter is exposed on the ground. This litter makes scenic roads, well, less scenic. And until someone stepped up to do something about it, the trash just kept piling up. Everyone saw the problem, but nobody was doing anything to fix it. Then came James Evans.
In the 1980’s James Evans worked as an engineer for the Texas Department of Transportation. One day he noticed debris flying out of a pickup truck bed. The flying trash sparked a crazy idea. Evans invited a local group to “adopt” a section of road that they would keep clean. The Texas Department of Transportation would pay for the bagged trash to be hauled away on a quarterly basis. Unfortunately, his efforts were short lived and the concept died. A short while later Public Information Officer for TxDOT’s Tyler District, Billy Black, became involved. He built upon Evans idea working hard to make it a reality. Billy came up with the idea of erecting “Adopt-a-Highway” roadside signs that recognize the volunteers and organizations who do the clean-up. Black provided volunteer safety training, reflective vests, equipment, and the concept took off. Within just a few months, more than 50 groups in the region surrounding Tyler, Texas had joined the new program. It quickly spread to 49 other states, Puerto Rico, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Japan. Today there are over 90,000 groups participating in the program.
What would happen if Christians decided to get involved in cleaning up their communities? I am not talking about just sacking roadside trash, but actually cleaning up their communities by caring for the poor, hungry, homeless, and widowed. What if Christians got involved in creating mental health solutions or assisting the addicted. What would happen if Christians got involved in politics and started supporting Christian values, morals, and ethics? What would happen if Christians stopped complaining about at all the problems in the neighborhood and started helping their neighbors one by one? What would happen if Christians began to care about their neighbors and loved them like Christ does? What would happen if more Christians served on the school board, with the PTO, and voted for people who actually want to make society better? I believe that everybody would win and society would be a more beautiful place. Christ’s love would be shown, people would find hope, families would be strengthened, and lives would be changed. We would have less suicide, depression, and isolation. We would have more community, love, and understanding.
I am convinced that there is no better time than now for Christians to step up and help make a difference. For all practical purposes, our world is not getting any better. According to most polls, people feel more hopeless and helpless now than they did 10 years ago. We need to step up and step up in a big way. Jesus never tells believers to sit on the sidelines and just pray for someone else to do something. Jesus tells believers to let their light shine and to make a difference. How are you making a difference? God doesn’t expect you to fix everything wrong in the world, but he does expect you to adopt a piece of it and let the Holy Spirit work through you to clean it up. You can help and when you do, you will help make this world a better place.