One dictionary defines “advocacy” as “active help, especially of a cause.” And, in my opinion, one of the best advocacy efforts happens every October — Breast Cancer Awareness Month — an annual campaign aimed to increase the awareness of this cancer.
Pink is the color, and we see it everywhere. My favorite football team had tones of pink in October in its uniform. You see pink and you think, “Well, we know what you think.”
In late Aug., 2014, many were blown away at how quickly the cause of ALS had spread. In such a short period of time, people from all over and from every walk of life were participating in the “ice bucket challenge” and donating to the cause. The ALS Association reported it had “received $88.5 million in donations compared to $2.6 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to Aug. 26). These donations have come from existing donors and 1.9 million new donors to the association.” This was a powerful advocacy effort — one that surprised everyone.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month is intentional. Events and activities are planned out. The ice bucket challenge grew faster and went further than anyone could have planned for. Both have made a huge impact for their respective causes.
Recently I went to the grocery store. I went to buy some fresh eggs. My favorite eggs right now are Eggland’s Best. As I reached for my beloved egg and was a bit shocked, but then, I actually wasn’t. Why? Well, the labeling looked different. It was all shades of pink. And instead of its own company initials stamped on each egg, there was also a pink ribbon. Apparently this company places a high value on advocating for the disease of breast cancer. I wonder — why? I wonder what happened at HQ that caused them to say: “This is a cause worth promoting.” Perhaps it isn’t anything deep. Perhaps it has less to do with good intentions and more to do with corporate partnership and shared publicity. Regardless, they have joined in the promotion of this cause.
As I went to crack those eggs for a meal, I was reminded of something valuable. As a disciple of Christ, advocating the mission of Jesus should be our chief aim. It should saturate every aspect of our lives — our thoughts, our actions, our schedules, and our choices. His cause should be something that is marked by all we do.
And what is the mission, the cause of Christ? 1 John 2:1-3 says: “I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments ...”
His cause was to advocate on our behalf so we would be able to experience eternal life. When this happens, it forever changes our future. And this change should produce within us a strong desire to see others experience the forgiveness of our loving and gracious God. His advocacy for us is to be duplicated in our lives — as we too are to advocate for this cause in others.
Romans 1:16 says: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.”
Has His advocacy impacted your life? Have you taken on the cause of Christ to live out and proclaim His desire to restore and redeem a lost and broken world? What are the “causes” that you have been committing your time and energy to? Is being His disciple and making more disciples of Jesus Christ the greatest cause in your life? If not, then what is keeping you from being a fully devoted, fully committed advocate for the cause of Christ in your community?
In his book “The Dangers of Shallow Faith,” A.W. Tower said: “Either God is Lord of all or He is not Lord at all.” Allow the Holy Spirit to search your heart and to show you were there needs to be less of yourself, and more of Him. May your advocacy of the cause of Christ represent your radical personal pursuit of true intimacy with our Heavenly Father. May you seek to grow daily in God’s grace and truth while sharing with the world around you His plan for restoration. And may you be unashamed of your advocacy of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in all you say and in all you do.
Nick Emery is the senior pastor at Good Shepherd Wesleyan Church. He can be reached at email@example.com.