I don’t have a chart on which to give myself a “Gold Star” at the end of each day, and yet it’s something I try to do as often as possible. I make it a goal to tell each of my daughters, one of their tasks that has already begun, is to change the world. Usually this comes after a prayer about “God’s love filling our hearts”, or a compliment on how I see the Love of God in their lives. I admit, it doesn’t happen every day. But I do think it happens often enough that they’re connecting the dots.
Who they are, and what God is doing in their life, is meant to change the world. Not someday, when they get big/popular/famous/rich enough. But right now, through simple acts of humility, love, forgiveness, charity, grace, friendship, sacrifice, etc.
I’ll be honest: when I opened this window to write today, I was preparing to tackle a different issue. There was a megachurch, that most of us probably really enjoy the fruit of, that also has quite a bit of fruit that doesn’t taste like Jesus. I wanted to write a post, pointing out their problems, and believing that might encourage us to “do it right”. But I think I’d rather spend more time pointing out my daughters, and have you be encouraged to change the world with them.
It’s not difficult, and not for only a few. It’s an invitation we’ve all been offered in scripture and in relationship to Jesus. And I think it looks like this:
1. Love. Not warm fuzzy, smiles all the time, and marshmallow bunnies here. I mean real love. Love that is always there, even when there’s disagreement. Love that will speak Truth from a God we believe to be the source of all love. Love that sits by you even when you stink. Love that is willing to be vulnerable, even if it knows you might take advantage of it. (think Jesus, not a woman in an unhealthy relationship with a controlling boyfriend) We discover what love looks like with each of our children, and aim to show it/reinforce it whether it’s been a great day, or incredibly stressful/tense. We help them to see what love might look like, even in the face of “friends” who don’t have their best interests in mind.
2. Simple. It doesn’t take thousands of people, bright lights, loud music, and high emotions to change a city or the world. It takes simple acts that go outside the normal routines of life. Calling people to “pause” and consider the fact that they’re loved or valued by you, because they’re loved and valued by God. Helping two sides of a conflict to see beyond their own desires to win, and connecting them to the humanity on the other side of the issue. We invite our children to join us in tasks of communicating love and value to others. Even as simple as praying for someone before bed, or giving up that bed when they come to visit.
3. Faithful. In a world guided by “what feels right”, we change the world when we are faithful. To a family, to a church body, to a spouse, to a friend. When we make a commitment, there’s a higher purpose to that covenant. God is revealed when His people go out into a world swayed by every new report/feeling, and stand firmly as followers of Christ, who have peace enough to Trust Him with tomorrow. We call our children to be aware of what commitments we make as a family, and help honor them.
4. Self-less. Even as I write this, I’ve received the latest ad for “The Mockingjay – Part 1”. A great story, for sure. The tagline even reads, “The courage of one will change the world.” But I’m not putting the hope of tomorrow on my daughters strapping up for a battle-to-the-death against the evil in our world. I’m inviting them to realize “The Love of One HAS changed the world.” Forever. That as we give up our appetites and self-serving inclinations, and instead love our neighbors AND our enemies – we continue in small part what Jesus began and promises to bring to completion. We invite our children to envision regularly how they might put others and Christ first….even if mommy and daddy could still use practice in this area. (admittedly daddy more than mommy) 🙂
5. Etc. I realize this is not an exhaustive list. Nor do I sprinkle scripture throughout it like a really good blogger or pastor should. Nevertheless….there’s some good stuff in here. I should probably read it again sometime down the road….:)