What does it take to make a difference? I'm not talking about make someone smile today, although that is a worthy micro-goal. But to really impact lives requires something more. If we look at those who have had an impact, either large or small, some commonalities begin to emerge. These common links among people of influence throughout the centuries are our topic for the day.
1. A Cause - If you don't have something bigger than yourself to live for, than you will never reach higher than your own stature. There are many thousands of "famous" people in the world. Fame is a different animal than impact. Many famous people are just that...famous, but they havn't translated that fame into impact because they have not embraced a cause. Oh, everyone has their favourite charities. Most of the time it is because they want the tax break at the end of the year. Charities are different than causes. A charity is something to which you give money. A cause is something for which you give yourself.
2. Passion - You shouldn't choose a cause, a cause should choose you. What about this broken world breaks your heart? There are many good causes, but unless the cause has a grip on your heart you will not have the impact that you desire. The Bible says that our eyes affect our hearts, and that is the truth. That's why commercials of stray puppies or starving children work. You can't have passion for something unless you see the need. Now, you and I both know that the greatest need of humanity is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. That is a cause for which all Christians should develop a passion. In addition to this, however, both New Testament and Old Testament Scriptures encourage us to engage in "good works" toward the "least of these." This too, requires passion.
3. Dissatisfaction - Impact requires a deep dissatisfaction with the way things are. This is where passion comes from. When we see that something is broken and decide that we just can't stand by and watch things continue to go wrong, that's the seed of passion sprouting up out of the ground. So what is it that you can't let go on any longer? What troubles you? What about the needs of others keeps you up at night?
4. Action - Passion and a cause accomplish nothing without action. There is so much talk today; and talk, and talk, and talk. The latest generation thinks that action is clicking a mouse and joining a group on social media. That may make someone feel good but is twenty miles away from real action that creates positive change.
5. Reason - Motivation is an important factor in this topic. If we are motivated by our pride the subliminal message we send to others is, "I'm going to fix you." That's not good. If our motivation is others, eventually our love for ourselves will win out when the going gets tough. The truth is, you like yourself a whole lot more than you care about anyone else's needs. When it comes down to where the rubber meets the road, the glory of God is the only motivation that lasts. Basically we want to say, "I care about others and want to make an impact because I want God to look good in their eyes. I want them to be drawn to the beauty and goodness of God."
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.