I’ve always been the type of person that’s just felt pulled toward…more. More than just not being satisfied with where I am, but really feeling like I was meant for a bigger impact on the world. Whether it be wanting to be in the military after high school (which didn’t work out), feeling pulled toward vocational ministry without any real path toward that type of platform or role, or really wanting this blog to finally take off back when I was a much more avid writer than I am now. Throughout my life there’s been this constant “you were made for more” feeling in my gut that I could never seem to satisfy.
That’s why it really resonated when Pastor Randy Wade over at Community Life listed out “Change the World” as part of the vision for the church. He didn’t just do this out of thin air, but because that’s what all Christians are called to do, regardless of vocation or gifting (Matt. 28:16-20; Mark 16:14-20). But as quickly as the wind hit my sails, it faded away. I found myself thinking, “I’ve got three kids under the age of five. How am I supposed to change the world with one kid around my waist and the other two sitting on my feet?”
It was on Thanksgiving that it really hit me. As we took a few moments to allow everyone to mention something for which they are thankful, my wife said that she was thankful that over the past month or two our oldest son has been continually professing faith in Christ as Savior of the world and saying that he believes in God and that Jesus had to die for our sin.
That’s when I almost started crying. Not just because of what she shared, but because God used Angela and me to put this little boy under the fountain of God’s grace so that God would pierce his little heart and give him faith to believe in Jesus. What bigger impact could I possibly have in this life than to see this tiny little world in the shape of my son saved by God’s grace? What bigger influence could I have than these three munchkins living in my home?
But all of this didn’t happen overnight or in a vacuum. It happened over years of getting on the floor and playing and being assaulted with stuffed animals or pillows and reading books and yes, even the spankings. It’s the staring at the dishes stacked in the sink and wishing we could have more time in the day because we’re just spent after working and taking care of these kiddos all day. It’s never having a clean surface on tables or counters because of all the coloring books or things we just need to keep out of reach of these ever-growing-taller children. It’s the staying up late folding ALL. THE. LAUNDRY. because these boys are rough and tumble and get their clothes dirty and this baby girl spills food because she’s, well, a baby. It’s all the sacrifices of loving them that even gave us a voice into this boy’s little heart (Matt. 22:34-40). It’s doing all the things that need doing because they NEED us.
Maybe that’s why it feels like we’re not changing the world. Why it feels so…normal. Because we don’t get to pick the need that we fill. There’s nothing trendy about cleaning up vomit or being woken up three times in the middle of the night or NOT losing your mind when your two year old asks to watch Paw Patrol for the hundredth time BEFORE LUNCH! You won’t likely see any Twitter hashtags about this because it’s just…life. But when Jesus washed his disciples feet he gave them one of their last lessons: To truly change the world, you have to wade into the muck and mire and normalcy of life and meet the needs that are really needed, not just what makes you look good. Then he went to the cross and took all of our muck and mire that happens in our daily lives upon himself, and he did it for the joy on the other side of the pain. He did it for the glory of his Father and to see all his people rescued from sin and death and Hell.
Some Christians will certainly gain platform and have content go viral and have other special and specific ways of changing the world. But, for most of us, changing the world will look a whole lot like changing diapers. Just like Jesus, we do all of this for the joy of what will come down the road. We do it for kids who know we love them and trust us with their lives. For the day our children actually resemble some version of obedience. And, God willing, for the day that God turns these little ones with sinful hearts into saints by capturing their hearts and giving them faith to believe in his glorious gospel.
Love God. Love people. Change the world.