I’m not anyone big or famous. I’m not an over-achiever. Not a Phi Beta Kappa, never voted “most likely to succeed,” and not even close to being a Fortune 500 CEO. No one is ever going to look my way and be impressed that they are in the presence of a mover and shaker.
Maybe so. Maybe not.
But if you are a serious follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, you can literally change the world and do it in a significant way. This is not unrealistic, not a dreamy preacher-type overstatement, and not out of the realm of possibilities.
Now, there are a few presuppositions we need to lay out before we name the three actions which you can do to change your world.
1) We’re talking about people who have genuinely received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.
2) Okay, you’re a Christian in whom the Holy Spirit dwells. Next, we’re talking about you taking seriously Christ’s mandate to be salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13) and light of the world (Matthew 5:14).
3) And, finally, we’re talking about you being willing to obey the Lord in whatever He assigns to you. That is, you read something in the Word and sense in your heart a tugging (pushing?) from the indwelling Holy Spirit that this one has your name all over it, and you get up and obey.
If that’s you–if you have received Christ and you are serious about making a difference for His sake and you are willing to obey Him–then, here are three actions for you to take which will be used of God to change your world.
1. Start where you are.
That may sound a little obvious, but you’d be amazed how often I hear people say things like, “I do not like living in this city. If I lived in (fill in the blank), I could serve the Lord.” “I know I’m not much of a witness here, but if I were living in a foreign country, I could be a great missionary.” “If the Lord will only let me move to (wherever), I will serve Him.”
But it does not work that way. Not ever.
If you cannot serve the Lord where you live right now, today, at this moment, you could not serve Him if you lived in Utopia.
Anything otherwise is simply an excuse to get out of doing His work today.
Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9)
So, where are you? That’s where you are to start serving God, doing the work He has given you.
I know pastors who feel they have been gifted with the skills and heart to build a great church for God. But not in the small town where they are now. Not in the rural countryside where they’re presently serving. Not in the poverty-stricken, crime-ridden inner-city where they pastor now.
Those pastors just know in their heart that if the right church would open up, if a congregation of happy, united, dedicated servants of Jesus were to call them as pastor, they could build a church that would shake the world for Jesus.
They’re playing games. And God does not play games.
They’re falling for one of the oldest tricks in the devil’s handbook. It’s called “If I just lived someone else, I could do great things for the Lord.”
Where do you work? at the drive-through at McDonald’s? on the desk at the dry cleaners? you’re the receptionist at the church? you mop floors for the high-rise office building? you’re the yard man for the rich family at the edge of town? you’re the pastor of a little church that hasn’t grown in years?
Good. You’re right where the Lord put you. Now, start there. Obey the Lord. After all, there is no place that is outside His jurisdiction or beyond His reach.
2. Use what you have.
“I look at people with great gifts and talents and envy them. But I have none of those things. I’m not a natural born leader, don’t have the gift of eloquence, and am not able to sing. I don’t have a lot of money and don’t know any sugar-daddies who do. That’s why I’m not doing anything important for the Lord.”
Yep. I’ve heard all that.
“If I had more money, I could tithe.” “If I had a great voice, I would join the choir.” “If I was physically able, I’d go on those mission trips to Guatemala.”
If, if, if. Living in our little dream world. Grabbing for any excuse we can get our hands on to keep from obeying the Lord today where we are with what we have.
God said to a hesitant Moses, What is that in your hand? (Exodus 4:2) That shepherd’s rod when given to God would become whatever the situation required it to be. In Exodus 14:16, Moses held that rod over the Red Sea and watched the waters part so a million Israelis could walk across on dry land.
What is in your hand?
Whatsoever your hand findeth to do, do it with all your might. (Ecclesiastes 9:10)
You are a little boy with only your lunch, barely enough for you? Give it to Jesus and see what He does with it. (John 6:8ff.)
You are a needy widow with only two small coins separating you from total destitution? Give it to the Lord. He may be up to something. (Mark 12:41-44)
Instead of telling the Lord what you would do if you had more money, time, energy, resources, abilities, start out by using what you have.
And get ready to be surprised.
3. Do what you can.
“If I had the wealth of Bill Gates. If I won the lottery. If I had a better job paying more than I make now. If I came into a great inheritance.” If any or all these things happened, yes sir, I could do some great things for the Lord.
Let me see if I can say this right: God does not want you doing great things for Him. It will be quite sufficient for you to do the little things He gives you.
The Lord Jesus had something to say on this subject: “He who is faithful in the little thing is faithful also in that which is much” (Luke 16:10).
What you do with the little things will tell the story on you and me.
Use my little job for Jesus. Use my little voice. Take the small amount of time I have and serve Him with it. Give my little offering.
Take that simple little idea I had for witnessing to my community and run with it. Oh, it’s a small thing and may not achieve much. But then again, it might. Who am I to say? The important thing is to obey.
One of the many tricks of the devil is to cause us to dismiss an act of obedience before we ever do it because we “just know” it won’t achieve anything. The writer of Ecclesiastes spoke to this fear of ours: He who observes the wind will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap. Rather than looking for reasons to get out of obeying, he adds: In the morning, sow your seed, and in the evening, do not without your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good. (Eccl. 11:4,6)
Just do it. Serve the Lord where you are with what you have in the best way you can.
After the little woman broke open a box of expensive ointment and poured it on the head of the Lord Jesus, a debate broke out among the observers over what she had done. The Lord silenced the critics. She has done what she could. (Mark 14:3-10)
That’s all He will ever ask of any of us. Do what you can.
When we decide to obey, we might start making discoveries, chief among which is that what we end up doing is far more than anything we ever dreamed.
The Lord has a way of honoring obedience like that.
Postscript: When I mentioned this 3-point outline to a friend, he suggested it sounds a lot like something John Wesley said. I went online and found the quote: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.
It’s outstanding, but I just couldn’t figure a good place to insert it in the body of the article above.