My son surprised me last night by asking me if there is human life on other planets. I was already more than half-asleep and certainly not expecting a late-night discussion on the probabilities of life in outer space. I told him people have been asking that question (and making movies and books about it) for a long time, but we can really only “know” so much about distances millions of light years away. And what is beyond that? Is there an end to the universe? Does outer space run out? We decided the world is a very, very big place. Our tiny planet in our little solar system in one of countless galaxies seems utterly insignificant in the incredible vastness surrounding it, and our brains begin to hurt at even a casual contemplation of it all.
I think we feel that way sometimes about the deep longing most of us have to make a difference in the world. “The world” is a very, very big place, and we can at times feel utterly insignificant in it, too. Unless God has gifted and positioned us to be a person with far-reaching impact, like a Billy Graham or a Reinhard Bonnke, we may feel like there is no way we can make a difference on a large scale.
May I suggest today, that the microcosm in which you live IS your world? Your world consists of the places you inhabit and the people you encounter. Your world may consist of a tiny village in South Africa, or a town in Eastern Europe, or an apartment complex in a busy North American city. It may include a school, some stores, your place of business, or a church. It may be rural countryside, part of an urban sprawl, or a quiet suburb with sidewalks and parks.
Wherever we find ourselves, God has placed each of us there for a purpose. And living our lives to fulfill God’s design for it is a choice to embrace the beginnings of our calling. A choice to live on adventure with God, to take up our cross daily and follow Him, and experience the joy and challenge of living beyond ourselves. I suspect the movers and shakers of this world lived high-impact lives on a very small scale before God ever enlarged their territories. My kids and I recently finished reading Reinhard Bonnke’s autobiography, and he started off by seeing ONE salvation as a result of his preaching long before God gave him one hundred, one hundred thousand, or one million.
I cannot tell you what exactly your calling looks like (more on that later), but I do know that God has already designed ways for you to start changing your world (“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph.2:10).
The funny thing about changing the world is, often WE are the ones who are changed the most. Jeff Goins says in his bestselling book, The Art of Work:
“I used to think that your calling was about doing something good in this world. Now I understand it’s about becoming someone good – and letting that goodness impact the world around you.”
So in thinking about making a difference in YOUR world, fulfilling your purpose/calling, and fully engaging with the life God has planned for you, I see two simple steps to take to get us moving in the right direction. Like a toddler just learning to walk, holding on to a parental finger on each side – one wobbly step with the right foot, then one lurching step with the left. That’s what this is: a step with the right, and a step with the left, and suddenly, we are on our way. It may be a bit hesitant and unsure at first, but we are moving in the right direction.
- First step: Live a high-impact life, right where you are, right now. Become who God wants you to become, and fully embrace the place and season where He has placed you. Become who He wants you to become by pressing into Him, learning to die to self, and obeying His Word. Learn to love well the people He has placed around you. Yes, even the difficult ones. Especially the difficult ones. Ask Him for help.
- Second step: Increase your impact immediately and give beyond your borders by investing in missions. Storing up treasure in heaven is the best investment plan there is, and there are many exciting ways to accomplish that goal. Our family has been able to do a variety of things over the years including supporting missionaries, sponsoring children, helping provide clean water, Bibles, farm animals, blankets, and other items where they are desperately needed. There is great joy in giving and using what we have been blessed with to change someone’s life. Some of the missionaries we are delighted and humbled to be able to partner with are Randal and Kendra Baird and their awesome family as they serve in Ireland. You can read more about them and support them here!
Now, get ready. Because I have a feeling that once you get started, there will be no stopping you. There’s no telling where you will end up once you step into the path of intentional, high-impact living. In the words of Bilbo Baggins:
“You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to.”
Go ahead. Be swept off your feet. God is not boring, and neither are His plans for the beautiful journey of your life. They may involve struggle, pain, and great cost, but they certainly will bring joy, fulfillment, and even greater reward.