Weird title, I know- but not misleading. Let me explain.
Changing the world is something that God has done and is doing. Jesus has had more impact on the world than any other person in history. He and 12 disciples truly changed the world. Sometimes we read the New Testament and think, “God can use me to change the world.” That’s true, isn’t it? Yes, it is. God can use us to change the world on a grand scale.
Let me ask you a question, though: what if God decides not to use you, individually, to change the world? Can it be that God may not want to use you on such a grand scale so as to change many lives? God will make all things right, and God will restore creation and establish the new heavens and the new earth. But my question is this: What if your part in changing the world doesn’t really involve you changing the whole world? Is this somehow less obedient? Does this somehow please God less?
A Subtle Idol
It seems that some are in danger of making “changing the world” into an idol, and yes, I do think this is possible. There’s nothing wrong with having a desire to do great things for God, but is that desire greater than our simple desire to obey God? I mean, do we define “great” in human terms, or God’s? Are we ok with the idea that God may use other people to change the world on a grand scale, and not use us in the same way? Perhaps you’ve heard writers or pastors say things like, “You have no idea how many people you can reach if you live radically enough. If you are just SOLD OUT radical– on fire for Christ– you can change the entire world!”
Usefulness vs. Faithfulness
While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with that desire, we can make an idol out of usefulness. Do you want to be used by God in great ways more than you simply want to be faithful? God never commands us to be used in great ways. Instead, he wants to be faithful with whatever he gives us. When we put usefulness above faithfulness, we risk being somewhere God doesn’t want us, just so we can contrive some sort of hype or excitement about doing what we consider to be “great” things.
As a pastor, the perfect test to know whether or not I have my ambitions in mind or God’s ambitions in mind, is to ask this question: If I’m praying for revival and it breaks out in a church across town, how do I feel about that? I’m talking about real revival, not just hype or excitement about getting lots of people together, maybe a bunch of church transfers. But if real, supernatural revival, involving many coming to repentance and faith, on a big scale, am I overwhelmed with joy that God is moving, or am I more concerned with why God didn’t use me in that way?
My encouragement for Christians, including myself: Stop trying to change the world, and instead find satisfaction and joy being faithful with what God gives you and where he puts you. God will use the combined faithfulness of all his children to change the world in His own timing and with His own power. THAT is greatness. THAT is what God wants. That is what will truly change the world.
God has already done the greatest thing possible in sending his Son. Why not bask in and spread that greatness, instead of worrying too much about creating our own?
Just a thought.
“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things he has done for you.” -1 Samuel 12:24
This is an adjusted excerpt from a message I gave on the life of Stephen (Acts 6-7) at Raintree Community Church, where I am Lead Pastor. For a full manuscript, and audio recording, click HERE.