Monday, May 23, 2011

The Overwhelming Question

Before this year I would get really annoyed when people would tell me that I would change the world.  I used to roll my eyes and walk away thinking how ignorant they were for thinking that I could do anything of any worth among a world of 6.7 billion people who mostly were lost and hopeless.  When I was in the 7th grade I started to write.  I remember one of the first things I wrote was a little paragraph that I titled, “Conviction” and now as I look back on it I even question myself if I knew the correct definition of the word.  But even if I didn’t, the same emotions creep into my heart as I read it.  The little paragraph ends with me asking the question, “Could I change the world” and I remember putting the question mark on that sentence as I was sitting on my bunk bed in the room Cody and I use to share and setting it down and then going on with my day.  Over the next 6 years many things happened in me and to me that convinced me that I couldn’t change the world and that I would be an idiot if I thought I could.  I even wrote blogs about it and had other people start to believe they couldn’t change the world and so on and so fourth until I genuinely became angry with the church I attend for their mission statement having the words, “change the world” in it.  I became bitter because I thought since I had met Christ and He had changed me that it would be prideful for me to say I could change the world.  I began to believe strongly that if I thought I could change the world than that meant I my focus wasn’t on discipleship. 
I was wrong. But I didn’t know that until this past summer when I was in Ethiopia and was complaining about all of it to my small group leader, Cam.  For three weeks all I had heard from the leaders and other students on the trip was how we were going to change the world and I kept getting angry about it.  So I told Cam that I didn’t think any of us could change the world and expected him, like most everyone else I talk to, to agree with me and move on.  But to my surprise he looked me in the eyes and told me I was wrong.  At this point of my life I hadn’t had many people disagree with me on much (oh, how my life has been transformed since) so as you can imagine, I was taken aback and waited for his reason.  He then went on to explain how one man thought of the idea of a telephone and how because of one man’s idea of communicating with people across town, or across a state, or across a country, the whole world was revolutionized.  One man thought a telephone and that simple idea shaped the way we communicate in unspeakable and astronomical ways.  Then he said to me, “how could one man not change the world?” 
At that question I realized that the whole time I thought I was prideful by saying I could change the world, I was really only belittling God.  I was limiting Christ to what I thought He could do through me, and really everyone else for that matter.  I was so humbled by my friend’s simple words that I immediately retreated to some intense prayer (it felt more like wrestling) and what the Lord revealed to me was directly in contrast with what my sinful nature had convinced me of.  He showed me that I was born to change the world.  I was born to know Christ and to make Him known and if my life is about making Him known then how am I not changing the world for the glory of the Living God?  He showed me that loving my neighbor and telling a friend about salvation could make just as big of a dent on the world as an atomic bomb could.  How do I know that the next person I tell about Jesus isn’t the next D.L. Moody?  How do I know that the next person I talk to about Christ wasn’t about to kill himself and in turn set off a chain reaction of suicide in his family because of the sorrow all of them felt?  How do I know anything?
The last couple of weeks I have been meditating on Jesus’ words in the most famous sermon ever preached. “You are the salt of the Earth,” he said, “but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?  It’s no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.”
For years I believed that if I thought I could change the world, I was being prideful. I wasn’t being the salt of Earth.  I had lost my saltiness.  I hadn’t heard of the beautiful principle of multiplication and discipleship.
Jesus goes further and says, “You are the light of the world.” (and here is where is I slap my hand to my forehead and ask myself how I missed this for those 6 years).
Since that beautiful night in Ethiopia, God has placed a deep desire in my heart to change the world, even if that is just one person at a time. I want the Lord to use me for His glory; I desperately yearn for Christ to allow me to serve Him in big ways.  And before this year, if I had said those words, it would have been for my namesake but truly now as I type those, they are for Christ’s namesake.  I have seen how only by the name of Jesus can anyone live and to change the world for His name, to glorify Him forever, is why I was born. 
T.S. Eliot once asked the overwhelming question, “do I disturb the universe?” I answer him with the short yet packed words, “how could I not?”
Hallelujah I am alive for the glory of God.

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