"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself." --Leo Tolstoy
Everyone wants to change the world, right? End world hunger. Promote world peace. Eradicate poverty. Etc, etc.
In a creative planning meeting the other day at church, we were talking about the idea of challenging our people to "change the world... of one."
In my service of Christ, I'm always thinking about how I can make a BIG impact. How can I do something great, grand, etc.? But the fact is, that until God has changed us, we cannot change the world. And once God has changed us, the change he would have us make in the world looks a lot less grand than we might think. I don't know if I can change the world, but I can change the world of one. I can love the people around me, one at a time, so much that it literally changes their world. Even if I never did anything else, if I could change one person's world by how I love them, then I have succeeded.
It starts with myself. Changing my world. And then, the people closest to me: my wife, kids, and close friends. Much like the do-gooders who traveled across the world to see Mother Teresa and they asked her how they could change the world. Her reply? "Go home and love your families." Amen to that.
I think as Christians we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to change the world. That's a big burden to carry, and ultimately there was only one man who could carry it--Jesus. The cool thing is he did carry it--straight to the cross--but don't miss this: he left it there. Jesus took the sin of the whole world up to the cross, and he left it there. In other words, the entire world only needed one change, and Jesus accomplished it in the single selfless sacrifice of his life on the cross. All the macro "world changing" that needed done is already done.
Perhaps you can't change the world, but you can change the world of one.
I'll leave you with a poem I wrote several years ago:
Jesus Shot Me
I was scared to change
I was dead, but it was safe.
"Change the world!" Everyone said.
Change the world while I'm dead?
So I went to Jesus and asked him a question:
Can you shoot me through the heart?
(The dead fear not death but only rejection)
He smiled and said, "That's quite a suggestion!"
"Let the bullet tear through my chest,
I couldn't pull the trigger on my own."
Pensively I waited--that's all I said.
He just smiled and nodded his head.
"I will shoot you through the heart,
If my actions you'll condone--
As I pick up the pieces of your life
And make it one after my own."
So, he shot me.
But it brought me,
Back to life again.
He raised me up;
Filled my cup,
And sent me on my way forgiven.
I am one who Jesus changed
As he exposed my sin and shame.
"You have changed," everyone has said.
I'll change the world wherever I'm lead.