I think most people when they’re young have grand aspirations. “When I’m older I’m gonna change the world” they may think to themselves. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this sort of thinking if it’s truly the desire to see good happen and not the desire of fame and recognition that leads one to this kind of idealism.
To give this a Christian perspective, perhaps you can remember back to that feeling you had right when you were saved. That moment when Christ took you from dead to alive and your whole perspective on the world changed. Perhaps you were more zealous and ready to do anything and go anywhere; bright-eyed and bushy tailed.
We read stories of Peter standing before the High Council with bold proclamations of Christ. Stephen standing before his executioners preaching the gospel. Paul going from city to city starting churches and patiently suffering so that, “Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death.” (Philippians 1:20)
However, I think we sometimes miss the more common story; those who may not be remembered the same as Peter, Stephen, and Paul- but those who were just as effective where God placed them.
People like Lois and Eunice- the grandmother and mother of Timothy, respectively. Because of the strong testimony of these women Timothy was raised in a household of faith and became a particularly important character of the New Testament.
Or Ananias- a man in Acts 9 who was given an odd calling. After Saul was saved on the road to Damascus he was blinded and for three days and nights stayed in Damascus with no food or drink. God called Ananias, a “certain disciple at Damascus” (Acts 910) to go to the notorious Saul and put his hand on him to heal his sight. Ananias knew well the stories of this man, yet he went, placed his hand on Saul, and called him “brother Saul” (Acts 9:17). God used the faithfulness of this man to heal the blindness of Saul so that that Saul could go and do the things for which he’s known.
The bible is full of these “common” stories; people simply being faithful where God has placed them. There’s no doubt that God does call some to go and do many great and mighty things, however, I would submit that the world as a whole will be changed not usually by the mighty few- but the faithful many. Not usually by the Elijah’s (which are far and few between) but the 7000 who refuse to bow the knee to Baal. (1 Kings 19)
After Jesus removed the legion of demons from the demoniac of Gadara, this man was understandably thrilled. We read in Mark 5:18, “And when he (Jesus) was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him.” This man wanted to be with Jesus- and we can imagine the zeal that he had to go and change the world for Jesus who had just done a miracle in his life.
However, Jesus had a different course for this man. The very next verse reads, “Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” More often than not, these are the people God calls us to reach. I think it’s imperative we understand this principle and we don’t miss the opportunities to reach those around us because we’re dreaming of being a Paul when perhaps God has called us to be a Lois, Eunice, or an Ananias.
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