Monday, September 17, 2012

Let's Change the World

Generally speaking, I have always felt misunderstood. I don’t know if everyone feels this way, but I’ve always sensed that most people just don’t get what I am all about. 

When I was growing up, I always said I wanted to go into politics. I think some of my friends in high school thought that this was fueled by narcissism and pride. Twenty years later, when we started Vintage Fellowship, some folks refused to support us, saying (not to my face, of course) that I was being driven by hubris. These kinds of statements hurt, but being misunderstood is a part of life, I guess.

Of course, no one’s motives are completely pure, but I can say with a clear conscience that my motivation - whether to be involved in politics or to pastor churches – has always been a desire to help people. I want my life to make a difference. I want to help to make the world a better place.

That sounds really stupid when you say it out loud.

We make fun of beauty pageant contestants for talking this way. And we roll our eyes at celebrities who use their fame to promote their latest cause. But many of us, maybe all of us, are wired to care about our world and the people in it. We were created for community, and we all have an innate sense of the power of our interconnectedness. Many of us have listened carefully to the internal impulses we sense to do something great with our lives, to live for a purpose greater than ourselves, to make a difference.

Surveys have shown that most journalism students are entering their field because they want to change the world. In the post-Watergate world, shining the light on corruption and telling the untold stories through journalism seems like one of the best ways to do that. Many musicians and artists, photographers and poets have the same motivation, wanting to bring beauty into the ugliness of the world.

I'm not sure I can think of a more noble purpose for a life. Beyond the pursuit of comfort, beyond the rush for new and better and more, beyond the struggle for notoriety and success, there lies something more profound - making a difference in the world - leaving the world a more peaceful, more beautiful, healthier place.

How about you? Do you want to change the world? And what are you doing to make a difference?


1 comment:

A said...

Do I want to change the world? Hell yes. How am I doing so . . . here’s my best answer.

As a Dad. There was a time where people thought I didn’t want to have kids. Actually, I didn’t want to be a crappy parent. When I was ready, I pushed all in, and now I couldn’t be happier to be Jackson, Lily, and Emma Grace’s Daddy. First I love their Mom and try to serve her every day in ways they can see. Second I try to be present with them when I’m home, spending individual time with each of them somehow every day. I learn from them and hope they learn from me. I try to enjoy every moment I get with them as a precious gift. Helping them grow up to be healthy people who can do something productive in this world should change the world for the better.

As a Business Owner. Feels like CEO’s get a bad rap these days, but I think I can change the world as one. First, I try to take care of those that work for me. I listen, care, and treat them how I wish everyone I’ve ever worked for would have treated me. Second, I serve my customers. Being a good partner, exceeding their expectations, and doing so with integrity is good for business. And last, when business is good, I give. My company will give more money to places like Habitat for Humanity of Washington County, 7 Hills Homeless Shelter, and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital this year than ever before. These places change the world every day, and they need someone to give them money to help them do it. My work every day makes this possible.

As a Church Member. My church may be too big for some, not cool enough for others, but it is home for me. I’ve found it possible to live out all the Biblical imperatives of “church” there. I lead a small group. I can’t be a pastor anymore, but I can shepherd this little group of people as we live life together and bear one another’s burdens. I help with security. Once a month I’m there for 3 ½ hours keeping an eye out so everyone else can go to church and leave their kids with others and all go home safely afterward. I encourage my pastors. It doesn’t take much, an affirming e-mail here, a lunch there, or an opportunity to take the pastor hat off and be themselves over a beer, but I think it means a lot.

I’d say I’ve found a way, after a lot of years of trying and not being very successful, to actually be who I am and change the world every day. Pretty fulfilling.