What drives people to changes things? What drives people to see something, realize its higher potential, and set out to improve it? What drives people to face all the hatred, persecution, and dissuasion, continuing to press onward until they reach their goal? What drives people to strive for social justice, civil rights, and freedom? What drives people for spiritual renewal and religious restoration?
Despite having the odds stacked against them? Despite the loss and hurt they might incur?
Sometimes we’re just not content. Sometimes we just can’t be satisfied. It happens – every minute of every day.
We want something different; we want change whether it be change leading to that which is new (more modern!) or change leading to something that was once there but is now gone (the old paths!). Regardless – we’re just not content. More money. More time. More stuff. More friends. More food. More options. More things to do. More time to relax. More freedom. More choices. More rules. We just want more.
And that can be….wrong. Very wrong.
Takes Philippians 4:12 and 1 Timothy 6:6-8 for example. Plunge into ruin and destruction? Ouch. I think I’ll stick with being content.
But what does it mean to be content? That we quietly sit around, hang on to everything we got and repeat to ourselves over and over “I don’t want anything else. I don’t want anything else. I don’t want anything else…”?
Is being content living with the attitude that everything is simply perfect and there is no room for improvement? Is being content living like you don’t need help and neither does anybody else because we should all just be satisfied?
Without someone being discontent, we wouldn’t have had a Reformation. Without someone being discontent, we wouldn’t have had a Restoration. Without someone being discontent then the hundreds of civil rights movements, social revolutions, religious restorations, and spiritual revivals throughout history would have never, ever happened. Ever. Healthy discontent is the prelude to progress. – Gandhi.
Progress. People fear the word but rarely understand what it means. It simply means movement. Movement towards a goal. Movement towards a different state of affairs. Movement of any kind. But some people don’t want progress. They hate it and despise it. Ridicule it and shame it.
I ask you: How might you tell if someone is alive? You see if they’re moving. Even in the slightest way – like breathing. So you may hate the idea of progress, but progress is movement.
Without movement, without progress….then you’re dead. But what drives movement? What drives progress?
There is corrupt discontent which stems from selfish desires. Then there is holy discontent which stems from selfless desires. Corrupt discontent leads to bloody revolutions, violence, and death. Holy discontent leads to peaceful revolutions, persecutions, and life. However, both are striving for the same goal – change.
No doubt Gandhi made mistakes. No doubt Martin Luther King, Jr. said the wrong words. There is no doubt that every great social revolution had people within them that slipped up, made mistakes, said the wrong things, hurt too many people, and caused a lot of problems. Jesus Christ himself had followers that did all those things. In fact, he seemed attracted the very people prone to making lots of mistakes. Like tax collectors, drunkards, lepers, and prostitutes. That sure caused the PR Department to go insane.
So yes. Nearly every positive change was plagued by people who messed up and did things wrong.
Yet underneath it all, there is a healthy and often times holy discontent that leads to righteousness; that leads to that positive change.