Waiting On the World to Change

I wanted to use the lyrics of the song “Waiting On the World to Change” in a sermon I was giving. I felt like these words expressed well the response I was seeking to get from my audience. I felt that too many of us are sitting around waiting for the world to change and not seeking to be active, constructive, participants in the needed change. Before I used the words I felt I should ask a younger generation what they thought the words meant. At face value, there is not much challenge in the words of this song. Rather, the words seem to say, “We can’t change the world and so we are waiting for it to change.” John Mayer is a different generation than I am (he is 34 and I am 51) and he is much closer to the age of my own daughters (27, 25, and 22). So, I sent my daughters an email to ask them about the meaning of the song and they contributed their thoughts to this blog post.

Twila had this to say.

My question for this song has always been, “why is he just waiting? Why isn’t he doing something to change the world?” If one day our generation is going to “rule the population” then why don’t we try to work toward a better future now? I have been thinking a lot lately about [how] . . . what I do today will impact my future. Then I also have a new perspective, and that is that I’m bringing a child into this world, and I want it to be a good place for my child to grow up! I have to raise this baby the best way I know, and not allow it to just sit and wait for change, but to make change happen! . . . It makes me really think about the gift I’ve been given in this child I’m carrying. I want so much to change the world I’m in so that my baby will learn from my example.

Lauren added.

I guess I have similar views as Twila in that you can’t sit around and wait for the world to change. However, the way I always heard that song is that we need to come together to change the world; whether as two people or one million. I think there is power in numbers not only in the deeds, but the support. . . . PS I do love the sound of the song and singing along to it.

On the phone Lauren told me that she had seen John Mayer perform this song in concert and his introduction before the song proved that he wanted the song to challenge others to stop “waiting” and get busy “changing” the world.

With this encouragement I was able to press forward and challenge those who listened to my sermon. I spoke of how the words of this song are similar to how Jesus spoke to a man beside the pool called Bethesda (John 5:1-15). He challenged the man to stop sinning by waiting around for things to happen. Jesus calls on all people “to proclaim good news to the poor, . . . to proclaim freedom for the prisoners, and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. . .” (Luke 4:18). Yet, all too often we are waiting for the world to change. We say that we are just putting it off until it is our generation’s turn, or until our kids are older, or until our kids are launched, or until our career is established, or until our business is stable, or until we retire, or until we win the lottery, or . . . . The reality is we have not yet lifted a finger to care for the poor, the prisoner, the blind, or the oppressed. Are we “waiting on” or are we an “agent for” change?

Waiting On The World to Change
(Listen while you read the lyrics)
(John Mayer – 2006 album, Continuum)

Me and all my friends
We’re all misunderstood
They say we stand for nothing and
There’s no way we ever could

Now we see everything that’s going wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We just feel like we don’t have the means
To rise above and beat it

So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It’s hard to beat the system
When we’re standing at a distance
So we keep waiting
Waiting on the world to change

Now if we had the power
To bring our neighbors home from war
They would have never missed a Christmas
No more ribbons on their door

And when you trust your television
What you get is what you got
Cause when they own the information, oh
They can bend it all they want

That’s why we’re waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

It’s not that we don’t care,
We just know that the fight ain’t fair

So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change
And we’re still waiting
Waiting on the world to change
We keep on waiting waiting on the world to change

One day our generation
Is gonna rule the population
So we keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change

We keep on waiting
Waiting on the world to change.

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