A “How To” Guide to Changing the World – Jeremy Austill
A “How To” Guide to Changing the World

Can we all agree that the world needs changing?

Regardless of political preference, religious persuasion, educational accomplishment, economic class, or chosen profession, we all can look into this world and agree that repair is desperately needed.

Pain, sorrow, manipulation, greed, deception, political posturing, abuse, scorn, violence, sickness, death, poverty, racism, classism, ageism, bigotry…

How do you change the world?

It’s a comment we flippantly throw around, especially when we look into the eyes of our children.

“You’re gonna change the world one day…”

How?

It seems with each news cycle a new cause is trending. You can’t log onto your social media accounts without a tidal wave of admonishment that we are less than human if we don’t passionately wave the banner for the cause du jour.

Which is where I will begin…

You Can’t Do It All

Every morning when I matriculate through the school drop-off line, I have my two kids recite the same statements. One part of our ritual is the following:

Me: How do you change the world?

Them: Be yourself

The thought is simple. If we are created of God, uniquely designed, with specific purpose assigned to our life, then we can trust that God put in us everything we need to change the world. More specifically, God put in us everything we need to change the portion of the world to which we are assigned.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:10)

There are good works for me to do, prepared in advance. Those good works are in sync with the particular skillset, intellect, and talents the Lord imbedded into the fiber of my being. Those good works are in harmony with the experiences, environments, and people God used to raise me.

I have a unique, specific assignment. I do not get my assignment from the ever changing news cycle. Do I hate racism? Deeply and intensely. Do I despise greed? You better believe it. Do I detest violence? It disgusts me. Am I opposed to abortion? Vehemently. Do I have feelings about our political climate? Oh boy do I ever! Does pedophilia and sex trafficking disturb me? I can’t even articulate it.

I care deeply about each of those injustices, but if I spend my life moving from one hot button cause to the next, I can guarantee you one thing…I would end up accomplishing a bunch of nothing. Why? Because I don’t receive my assignment from the news cycle. I don’t receive my mission from a Twitter hashtag.

The “good works” for my life are tailored to me. Make no mistake, this doesn’t absolve me from responsibility, it just means I can’t do it all.

I am wired with a purpose. No doubt, fulfilling the assignment on my life should have a meaningful impact on all of the above. Me manifesting God’s Kingdom will no doubt result in many wrong things made right…

But that’s on a micro level, not so much the macro…

Start Small, and be OK Staying Small

Let’s face it, changing the world is an unrealistic weight to carry on our shoulders. Not to mention that only One has the capacity to literally change the world. He is the One who courageously yielded to the archaic, barbaric cross. He is the One who descended into the bowels of darkness and marched out of the grave with all authority, leaving behind an empty tomb. He is the One who has made all things new and ushered in the age of His Kingdom.

Can I pause for a moment and say the church is doing WAY more than she is given credit for. Despite what the media and keyboard warriors say, the church in America and all over the world does more to combat injustice than the rest of the world combined. Sure, some segments of our faith population may have gnarled the interpretation of scripture into something that lacks resemblance to Jesus, but overall the church is VERY active in making wrong things right.

The church is sinking millions of dollars into rescuing those trafficked… having uncomfortable conversations about racial healing…feeding millions of hungry people around the world…digging clean water wells in Africa… funding orphanages…building hospitals…

All the while staying true to the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus.

I will never end poverty. I will never end racism. I will never end violence.

Those are too big for me to tackle. This reality, if we allow, becomes a great discouragement and impediment to actually doing something.

Your local church can’t eradicate fatherlessness. Your church cannot take care of all the orphans in the world. That’s not your responsibility. Your assignment is within reach. The good works prepared for you, doable.

You can’t take care of all orphans, but your local church can be very generous to a few individual social workers. Your church can give their office a ton of support, and help them take care of the needs of some of the kids “in the system” in your community.

You can’t end world hunger, but you can identify a few impoverished people in your city and help them rise up out of their circumstances.

As for me, I’m going to keep hosting camps and conferences where teenagers come in contact with the radical love and unrelenting power of God. I will do this, trusting that staying focused on my assignment is making a difference.

I can’t end abuse, but I can contend for the restoration of the abused heart. I can’t heal racism, but I can defy it in the rooms to which I am assigned.

I can’t change the world, but I can change a few people’s world.

Change a person. Change a family. Change a neighborhood. Change a community.

Just change something.

3 Comments

  • Nancy Bartholomew says:

    I am sure my Facebook friends get tired of my saying I can’t change the whole world but I can give blood. It takes about an hour of my time every couple of months. It may not make a huge difference to all the problems in the world but it can save a life. It’s the small things that count.

  • Allison Goodman says:

    Yes! Be yourself-love it! I’m a 9, on the Enneagram, peacemaker, so my pitfall has been, help it all, much to my detriment. Sometimes in our quest for mass impact we spread ourselves thin and miss the divine strategy to aim to reach our present world around us. This timely word should help us run in our lane, seek, serve and invest where we have been planted. Hear it.

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