BEHIND THE SONG WITH KEVIN DAVIS
#493 - "Do Something" by Matthew West
Matthew shares the real-life story of a girl who asked, "If I don't do something, who will?"
 


Matthew West's album, Into The Light, features 12 tracks inspired by 10,000 new letters submitted after West invited people to, once again, send him their stories. The songs comprising Into The Light were inspired by stories touching on everything from the power of forgiveness, drug addiction, the rejection of apathy, domestic violence and many other topics. 

The album has already produced two big hits, "Forgiveness," and "Hello, My Name Is." I had the great opportunity to speak with Matthew about the story behind the call-to-action single from Into The Light, "Do Something." The song has a convicting message and is one of my favorite types of songs as it looks at the world with a Christian worldview, or how God looks at the world, and challenges listeners to not stand by when they see injustice or needs.

Please tell me the story behind writing this song.

God pursues every heart. The Bible also tells us that the Enemy seeks to kill and destroy us. Our God is stronger and pursues each one of us. I try to be mindful when I write a song, perform a concert or send out a song to radio about who might hear what I'm singing and I don't ever want to under-estimate how God might use a three-minute song to touch someone every time they hear it. God is well aware of those connections before they take place, because orchestrates them all.

Lately, I've been putting Scripture into my songs. I always strive to have the messages of my songs line up with Scripture so there are no conflicting reports, like in "Hello, My Name Is," where the bridge comes right from 1 John 3:1. I love how when people sing along with that song; they are singing Scripture even if they don't know it.

For this song, it is a call to action. As a songwriter, and as a communicator through music, I'm very wary of sending out a song that calls for action if it doesn't start with calling me to action first. It starts with a first person perspective with me talking to God about what I see going on around me and asking if God is going to fix it. The "aha" moment happens with God responding by saying, "Matthew, I did something; I created you. You go out and change the world and make it a better place." That's important to me. That change has to start with me and people need to see me living that out.

This song was inspired a girl named Andrea. If I were judging a book by its cover, I'd say she looked like a college girl, maybe in a sorority or something, lots of friends, bound to be successful someday. And in a way, that would be a correct assessment. But that is not the whole story. Andrea, a former University of Colorado student, had chosen to spend a semester abroad learning micro-financing in Uganda. While there, she happened upon an orphanage in critical condition. The children were being badly neglected and even abused. Her heart broke for these orphans who had no advocate. That's when this college student decided to do something. She called her parents and said, "I'm not coming home." She refused to leave these children until something was done to improve the conditions.

Which Bible verses connect to the message of the song?

Matthew 25:40 (NIV):
The King will reply, "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me."

Matthew 25:44-46: (NKJV): Then they also will answer Him, saying, "Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?" Then He will answer them, saying, "Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me." And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.

What is the takeaway message?

By sheer determination and refusal to give up, Andrea and her sister convinced the Ugandan government to close down that orphanage, which left about 40 children with no place to go. The government handed the children to her. Andrea brought this need back to the states with a new vision and desire to create a safe place for these children to grow and learn. Today, Musana, which means "sunshine," is a thriving orphanage in Uganda, housing over 100 children. Andrea prefers spending most of her time in Uganda, not the U.S.

She's a long way from a sorority house or a college campus. She's reaching the world, and bringing hope to people, one helpless child at a time. When asked what it was that made her fight for these children she simply said, "I just kept thinking, 'If I don't do something, who will?'"

Andrea's story floored me. Today, so many of us Christians talk so much about being the hands and feet of Christ, but never really displaying what that looks like. Andrea has gone to the extremes to show us all what wild abandon to the cause of Christ looks like. It's not about talking. It's about doing! It's time for us to do something! I hope that Andrea's ministry inspires others to think about how her seeing an orphanage in need caused her to do something. What could we be capable of in our own lives, our towns and neighborhoods, if we are willing to step out and be willing, not qualified? I wonder how God might use our lives just like Andrea, to change the world!

Lyrics:
I woke up this morning
Saw a world full of trouble now
Thought, how'd we ever get so far down
How's it ever gonna turn around
So I turned my eyes to Heaven
I thought, "God, why don't You do something?"
Well, I just couldn't bear the thought of
People living in poverty
Children sold into slavery
The thought disgusted me
So, I shook my fist at Heaven
Said, "God, why don't You do something?"
He said, "I did, I created you"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

I'm so tired of talking
About how we are God's hands and feet
But it's easier to say than to be
Live like angels of apathy who tell ourselves
It's alright, "somebody else will do something"
Well, I don't know about you
But I'm sick and tired of life with no desire
I don't want a flame, I want a fire
I wanna be the one who stands up and says,
"I'm gonna do something"

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something

We are the salt of the earth
We are a city on a hill (shine shine, shine shine)
But we're never gonna change the world
By standing still
No we won't stand still
No we won't stand still
No we won't stand still

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it's time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It's not enough to do nothing
It's time for us to do something


From "More," "You Are Everything" and "The Motions" to "Strong Enough," "Forgiveness" and "Do Something," I continue to hear a progression musically and lyrically from Matthew West. Into The Light is yet another solid album from one of Christian music's most prolific singer-songwriters. Those songs all have very strong messages and are all catchy and uplifting. If you want to be challenged, moved, and step "into the light" with songs inspired by real life stories, then don't miss this album.

While listening to this song, I am challenged to "do something." Jesus commands believers to love others as He loved us, and to show His love by helping people who can't help themselves. That's how we can show God in us to others. Also, look for God in the "least of these" as Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:40 (NIV): "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me." 

As Matthew and I discussed, whatever cause you support, be passionate about it and speak into the cause consistently. Ask yourself if you're losing sight of God's purpose for you. Then take the words of the song to heart: "It's not enough to do nothing / It's time for us to do something." Amen to that! You can support Andrea's ministry at http://www.musana.org

(Watch Matthew sing the song here.)

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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