There is a five-year degree at the college I attended called a Bachelor of Theology. The workload is intensive, and only a handful of students choose this path each year. Those that do are rewarded with an opportunity to speak in chapel their senior year. They can preach a sermon to faculty, staff, and the student body on whatever they feel called to say.
While I was on campus, one student started his sermon by putting duct tape on the floor in a straight line. He then said, “I’m gonna change the world. Wanna come?” He preached a sermon that I do not remember, but he challenged any student who wanted to be a world-changer to walk to the front and cross the line he had taped.
Several students jumped at the occasion. When you are in your late teens or early twenties, you have this insatiable desire to do something meaningful with your life. You want to make your mark on the world in a positive way.
Well, that was thirty years ago now. I recently looked up that student online, and his life has gone much the same direction as mine. He worked in local ministry at the Church, did some writing, and tried to help young believers on their faith journey. Unfortunately, on the surface, it looks like neither of us became the world changers we dreamed of at the age of 21.
With turning 50 years old this past January, I have spent a great deal of time thinking about the impact of my life on this world. There is a sense of failure that sweeps over me some days. I never did anything that most people would consider significant. I have preached at five small local churches, led some small groups, wrote some blogs, taught some classes, and did my best to help people follow Jesus. I have received no awards, honorary degrees, or recognition from anyone. I get up and do my job every day to the best of my ability. No one knows about most of what I do but God and me.
Neither that student nor myself changed the world. But hopefully, along the way, we did change a few people’s worlds. I pray that I have led people to follow Jesus, find forgiveness, and showed someone the next step on their faith journey.
I often think that my ministry life is not a failure as long as I am able to help a few people become disciples of Jesus or at least a better one. Many of us wanted to change the world, but we never dreamed it would happen one person at a time.