As a young boy living in Iowa our house did not have air conditioning, not even a window unit. As a result some summer nights could be warm, to put it mildly. Living in a two-bedroom house, I shared a small bedroom with my brother. In addition to any breeze from the open bedroom window my parents placed a small fan at the foot of our beds, to help circulate the night air where we slept. Although the fan didn't change the room temperature, it did help move the air some. Without an air conditioner, every little bit helps.
An outside thermometer would show the actual temperature in that location. In the absence of home air conditioning there was, of course, no inside thermostat available to initiate any changes in temperature. I hope whoever invented air conditioning did well.
A thermometer reflects actual temperature whereas a thermostat initiates changes in air temperature of a room or house, depending on what change in temperature is selected. A thermometer tells you what is. A thermostat offers change, usually one that makes rooms cooler in summer, warmer in the winter.
As people of God, we choose to be a reflection of society as a whole (thermometer) or a reflection of what God is doing in the earth at any given point in time, including now (thermostat). It takes no real effort to be a thermometer, to be a part of what is. Being a thermostat, on the other hard, requires being changed to make a noticeable difference to your world, starting with those around you.
Are you a thermometer or a thermostat? Are you a part of the status quo, flowing with those around you, or are you allowing God to bring change to your surroundings, to those within your sphere of influence? If a thermostat, how is God using your gifts and talents to bring help, healing, and life to a lost and dying world where you live, work, and play? If, at this moment, a thermometer, what event(s) would need to happen to influence you to want to become a thermostat?