This week I taught a lesson about influential people. I asked my students, “Can ANYONE be influential? Or can only SOME people be influential?” I would say that out of my 300+ students only about 15 of them said that ANYONE could be influential. Most of them said, “We are just normal people. We can not be influential.”
I went for a walk to get ice cream with a fellow teacher (a local). She asked me some questions about my life – about the things I’ve done and the things I want to do. She said, “Ohhh. You don’t do these things for yourself, do you? You do them to help others. And for your God?” After I responded to that she said, “There are not many people like you in this country, but everyone in this country appreciates people like you. Maybe some of the rich people can be like you. The rest of us are just… trying to survive. We do not look for jobs that will help others. We just look for any job we can get. We just have to survive.”
Is it just me? Or do these things break your heart?
I’ve been thinking a lot about the things my students said and the things my teacher friend said and about my own experiences in life. I honestly have never thought for a moment that I did not have the ability to be influential. I’ve pretty much always planned on “changing the world.” Maybe it’s the American in me… Maybe it’s my parents encouragement of my dreams… But maybe it’s largely because I’ve studied the Bible and I see how God used broken little people to change the world… Moses – couldn’t speak. The Disciples – well, they had a whole mess of problems and came from various, often humble, backgrounds. And I guess it’s not that I plan on PERSONALLY changing the world but that I know that my God can use me in His plan to shake things up for His glory!
I just can’t imagine what you live for if you think you can do nothing to influence anyone. When I think about this society, such a thought pattern makes a lot of sense. I see it everyday. The staying within the box. The “just surviving.”
I suppose that’s some of the beauty of Jesus. He takes us out of our “just surviving” and puts us into a life of “changing the world” – if we let Him.