Wednesday, April 10, 2013

how to change the world {making your mark}



(she makes her mark without even trying-and entertains us all in the process-and doesn't she remind you of Edna, the costume designer from The Incredibles?)

Around here there is a lot going on. I've got lots of things in the hopper, but this little bit seems to be loud, at least in my own head. 

Lately I have been feeling a bit unused. Not so effective. Like what I'm doing in my own little house isn't too much of a big deal. And so I've had to shake my head and tell the enemy to shut up. I have to remind myself that I really am making a mark on the world. 

It’s easy to look around and see people who are busy doing stuff to change the world. And sometimes the stuff they’re doing looks a lot more glamorous than our lives. Curing cancer always looks more interesting than changing diapers or making the daily commute to work and back. 

We can look out at the philanthropy landscape and feel like we really aren’t making that much of a difference. But maybe making a mark on this world can look a bit different than that. Maybe, even when we don’t realize it, we are already making a mark.

I find it easy to get discouraged when I compare my life to others.

In seasons where don’t always feel super effective in ministry, what’s my mark?

When are our kids are running six ways to Sunday, what’s my mark?

When the current job situation is causing me to sigh with complacency, what’s my mark?

I heard Jesus say something about going to all the world and making disciples. And the world seems vast and too big to even begin. The vagueness of it all leaves me undone. How? How exactly does one begin to go into all the world? It’s a big place. Most days I can’t even make through one whole load of laundry or put dinner on the table at a respectful hour, how am I supposed to go the world? 

And the enormous size of the task tempts to quit before I even begin. And so I wonder at my effectiveness in life. Maybe you have too. I don’t lead a ministry. I don’t work outside the home. I don’t have a Twitter following (I heard you actually have to tweet stuff to get one of those), I don’t even show up on Facebook much anymore.

But here is what I actually do: I volunteer in all three kid’s classrooms, I am usually the second in line at the after school pick up (no matter what time I get there I cannot beat out that white sedan). I take very good care of my husband. I cook lots and lots and lots of meals. I serve alongside my husband, while he serves as a youth pastor. I hang out with the neighbors. 

Sometimes we can look at the enormity of the great commission and feel lost in the shuffle. Sometimes we can look at those folks who are living radical for Jesus (whatever that means) and feel insignificant. Sometimes we can read the great commission and feel woefully underdone in our meager effort to make disciples.

We need to remember that Jesus calls us to a light burden, not easy but light. And I hear the kids yelling for mom and it hits me, I am already making disciples, three at time. My effectiveness in ministry is not based on my platform, the number of speaking engagements I have, the amount of books I’ve written, or the number of conversions I have overseen. My fruit is quite literal, straight from my very own womb. Actually I prefer to think of them as arrows in the hands of this warrior who spends most of her time fighting on her knees. Our quiver isn’t full compared to others but our arrows, God willing, will shoot straight. Are we making our mark? Those three kids who bear our name and share our genetics are proof that we are. And when it’s all said and done, I believe that is the mark that matters most. 

Yes, I know that the fulfilling the Great Commission is a vital command given by Jesus to his people. But I also know that Jesus told his followers to go to Jerusalem first; they were supposed to start at home. I can be a dynamic public speaker, I can lead thousands to God’s truth and redemption with my words, I can fly all over the world and give all my money to those who are in need. I can do all of those things; but if doing those causes me to neglect the three disciples God has given me under my own roof, well, then I don’t think that all those things matter too much. Does that mean that Great Commission doesn’t apply to me? Absolutely not. I’ll make my disciples here at home, and when those arrows have flown I will spread out. Life comes in seasons.

Sometimes it is way too easy to look at how other people are walking out their calling and then compare that to our own lives. We forget that God called each us uniquely and specifically for certain things. That is not bad, it’s just different. We get too hard on ourselves sometimes, feeling like we don’t do enough and we scamper about after the latest Christian trend of what to do. And we forget that we just have to be obedient to live our life right in the place that Jesus called us. For some of us that will mean a radical life change. But for others that means simply focusing on God’s basic rules: love God and the love your neighbor.

Making my mark, at least right now, isn’t about the whole world-at least in a global sense. Right now making my mark is about those three people who are my whole world.Don’t ever feel bad when making your mark looks too simple, because this task of raising kids to know the Lord is crucial and it’s big and it’s vitally important. 

So make your mark. And make it count. And don’t ever worry about the mark anyone else is making. And over here at our house? We are changing the world one kid at a time. 

2 comments:

  1. Well said! My mom & dad did a great job raising up four kiddos that now all follow The Lord and bring their parents joy! :) You're totally right -- comparison of our lives with others' lives and what they appear to be "accomplishing" is the thief of joy and fulfillment. I'm trying to learn this lesson but it's a tough one for me! Thanks for helping me on my journey!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachel.

      We were just talking about this with our youth group last night. They seemed surprised that it really it is simple to make disciples, it starts with relationship. Then we plant a seed and God does the work.

      I pray we all continue to learn this lesson!

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