Every generation has the same task before them. This task is only heightened throughout your college. Organizations, classes, teachers, internships, friends, and parents are all asking the same thing from you: what will you do to change the world?
I think we can all agree that the world is in desperate need of change: crime rates, divorce rates, fill-in-the-blank rates, they’re are all on the rise. We know about everything and everyone through social media, but we can’t seem to cultivate deep relationships with the people right in front of us. We are prosperous and healthy, but still so empty. To some extent, we feel lied-to, and it’s easy to become cynical. Disney movies taught us to “wish upon a star,” and we were convinced that when we grew up our dreams would come true and we would change the world. Then life got hard: our parents divorced, our relationships didn’t work out, and the real world smacked us in the mouth. Now we’re no longer asking if we can change the world; we’re asking why we should even try.
To that I would argue: you can change the world. I don’t say this tritely or with a superficial “if you believe it, you can do it” mentality. I say this with the conviction that real world change is possible in this generation. The question is, how?
The Bible says, “Do not despise the small things” (Zechariah 4:10), but do them as if your life depended on it every single day (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Every afternoon, I have a 3-mile drive down Richmond Road back to my house. During those three miles, my whole day changes. Every single day. How? I pass an ordinary man standing on the side of the road. This man is not hitchhiking. He is waving and smiling and dancing like his life depended on it.
Darold is a 58-year-old Louisiana native that has been working for Mr. Sparkles Car Wash in Lexington for the past two years. For most people, being “the sign guy” who waves and points at potential customers would be insulting, even degrading at times. But for Darold, it’s an opportunity to do the small things with excellence, with everything that’s in him:
“I try to reach everybody. I don’t like to miss none of them. I’m doing it all for God. That’s my inspiration.” (source)
I’m clearly not the only person who has been influenced by Darold. Numerous people have written into the Lexington Herald-Leader over the years talking about Darold’s impact. For example: “Although I don’t even know this man’s name, he deserves the recognition for the impact he has made in my life, and quite possibly the lives of others as well. Lexington is lucky to have him.” (source)
There will be no books about Darold. He will not have a statue or a building named after him at the University of Kentucky. But he changes the world every single day.
Jesus said it best: “One who is faithful in the very little is also faithful in much” (Luke 16:10). Jesus did the ordinary things of life, serving and loving and being with the people around him. These little things led him to a cross where he sacrificially died and was raised so we could enjoy the forgiveness of our sins and the power to live extraordinarily in the utterly ordinary.
This world needs less people who are after recognition or big achievements to feel important, and more people who are willing to do the small, ordinary, and even mundane things of life to the glory of God. In the words of Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden: “How do you win national championships? You start by tying your shoes.”
Will you change the world this week? I don’t know. I do know that you can:
- Ask someone how their day is going, and then listen to their answer
- Turn off the TV,put the phone away, and have a good conversation with your roommates
- Take yourself less seriously and God more seriously
- Go to church on Sunday, and be involved with a community of believers that will care for you
- Forgive someone who has deeply hurt you
- Have the courage to talk about Jesus with someone
- Show up on time for all your classes and meetings
- Reach out to someone different than you
- Read your Bible & get on your knees in prayer
- Laugh & cry with others
- Live out what you believe with everything you have
This will not be easy. It’s not easy to focus on the ordinary things day-in and day-out. But days make weeks, weeks make years, and years lead to a life. Ordinary things done greatly over a lifetime will change the world. A great tree will fall with many chops. Pray for daily grace to keep chopping.