Be a thermostat and not a thermometer.
What does that mean?
Thermometers reflect their environment; thermostats change their environment.
In the book of Galatians, Paul shares a fascinating story about a time he and Peter were both in Antioch. Peter had habitually eaten with the Gentiles up until a group of people came from the mother church in Jerusalem. It seems they didn’t understand the freedom that we have in Christ or exactly what it meant that Jesus had fulfilled the Law and also declared all foods clean. And Peter was scared. He sensed their disapproval and so he stopped eating with the Gentiles. Peter acted like a thermometer. Paul saw this and was outraged, so he confronted Peter publicly. Paul acted like a thermostat.
Whatever your ministry role at Stanford, strive to be a thermostat and not merely a thermometer.
Are you a life group leader? If your group is not sharing deeply enough, don’t just feel sad and go back and complain. That’s a thermometer move. Take the initiative and share something vulnerable. That’s a thermostat move!
Are you a worship leader? Don’t just read the room – change the room. Exhort the gathered believers to give the Lamb who was slain the praise He deserves.
If you’re hanging out in your residence hall one day and you feel the conversation heading in an ungodly direction, don’t just throw your hands up and whine to God about how hard it is to be a believer at Stanford – interject something into the conversation to move it in a better direction!
Just because you strive to be a thermostat doesn’t mean you’ll always succeed. Maybe someone else left the doors and windows open and your efforts will have only marginal results. That’s not up to you. Do what you can and trust God with the rest. And sometimes you’ll be amazed at how a simple act of wise courage will transform a situation!